With the installation of new canopies, the Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts are now complete at Tiger Field in Rockport, home to the city’s Pony League baseball program.
“The dugouts are more cleaner, and everything is, like, up and running,” eight-year-old Pony League player Mackenzie Montemayor said.
At a dedication ceremony for the reconstructed baseball field complex Friday afternoon, Aransas County Judge Burt Mills threw out the first pitch, a strike right down the middle to a young boy behind home plate.
“After the storm, the kids mentally were… they went through a storm they shouldn’t have ever had to go through,” Judge Mills said. “They lost their playground. A lot of them lost their homes. They had to have something.”
The Rebuild Texas Fund, a non-profit organization that formed in the days following Harvey’s devastation along the Texas coast in August of 2017, paid for the canopies with a $46,970 grant. Their installation marked the final stage of reconstruction at Tiger Field that started in January 2018.
“Rebuild Texas has their saying, ‘we’re in it together,” Judge Mills said. “Believe me they were here, and they’ve been with us all along. They’ve helped us out with many different projects. This is the crowning glory right now. I’m sure there’s more to come.”
Several organizations worked on Tiger Field in the spring of 2018 and got it to the point where games could be played there in April. The recent canopy installation will make games more comfortable and safer, shielding people in the stands from the sun and foul balls.
“When you get some of those foul balls coming back, you definitely don’t want to be hit,” Rebuild Texas Fund Program Officer Cristina Cornejo said. “We’re helping to rebuild communities anywhere and everywhere that we can.”
In addition to the Rebuild Texas Fund’s donation of canopies, the Sid Richards Foundation and the Regional Insurance Alliance also made rebuilding Tiger Field possible. The former was instrumental in the field’s irrigation system, shed improvements, lights, concession stands, food stocks, tractor, and lawn tools. The latter, through North Star Restoration, was responsible for the fencing, baseball field and backstops, and everything else.