Fitch opens new baseball field with a big win

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Fitch's new baseball complex broke ground in November 2017. Fitch played their first game at the new field on April 12. SCG Fields and their partners Act Global created the field.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The namesake of Fitch's new baseball field is Richard Coppola, a former head coach from 1968-1996. He helped start the school's baseball program. His former player, Joe Paris, currently coaches the team. Pictured, Coppola threw out the first pitch in the first game played in the new baseball complex.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Representatives from the Austintown Fitch High School, school board and baseball team cut the ribbon on Richard L. Coppola Field. Pictured are, from left, Fitch Principal Christopher Berni, Trustee Jim Davis, Board President Don Sherwood, Board Vice President Robin Krempasky, board member Harold Porter, Director of Facilities Richard Zimmermann, Athletic Director Lewis VanHoose, former coaches Rich Coppola and Wally Ford, current coach Joe Paris, Treasurer A.J. Ginnetti and Superintendent Vincent Colaluca.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Wally Ford, a former Fitch baseball coach from the years 1999-2016 and former player under coach Richard Coppola, praised both Coppola and the new baseball complex. Pictured, Ford threw a heater before the first game at the new baseball field.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Fitch baseball coach Joe Paris said the team is still adjusting to the new field. The school is the only program in the region with a turf field. They only practiced on the new surface for an hour and half prior to their game against Columbiana, which they won 16-4.

By ZACK SHIVELY

zshively@vindy.com

The Austintown community celebrated the opening of the Richard L. Coppola Baseball Field on April 12 before Fitch’s game against Columbiana.

The event saw different school officials, board members and former coaches participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the field. The new field began construction on November 8, 2017. The field uses turf instead of grass, as many college programs do.

“It’s an elite program and, now with the new facility, it’s the best in the area,” said Richard Coppola, former head coach and namesake of the field. He said the field is unbelievable.

The board members, coaches and school members lined up for a photo during their ribbon cutting to officially open the field. Coppola and Walley Ford, another former coach, delivered the opening pitches for the game.

“It’s a great opportunity for the kids,” said Ford, “It’s a great complex, like a college facility.”

Coppola coached from 1968-1996 and helped set up the first season of the baseball program. Ford, who played for Fitch under coach Coppola, served as head coach from 1999-2016. Current head coach Joe Paris also played under Coppola.

SCG Fields and their partners Act Global broke ground on the project in November 2017 and created the turf field. Paris said that while the field is a dream come true to him as an Austintown community member and former player, the players are still adjusting to the turf. They only had about an hour and a half to practice on the new field prior to the game.

The lack of time on the turf did not seem to cause too many issues for the Cardinals, as they won the opening game on the field 16-4.

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