Hawley Field has been home of Mountaineer baseball since 1971. Improvements to the facility are of the upmost importance to WVU, to provide an outstanding facility for athletes and coaches alike.
In 2009, a 100 foot wide by 40 foot high batters eye was constructed behind the centerfield fence. This solid, dark green structure makes it easier for hitters to see the ball out of the pitchers hand. Plans are also in the works for new dugouts and a clubhouse behind the first base dugout.
A new state-of-the-art drainage system was installed in the outfield and foul territories. The infield received a completely new playing surface. The ballpark got a new warning track made of crushed red shale bordering the fences, and these major-league quality improvements now make the playing surface one of the best in Division I.
In recent years, the Mountaineers expanded their outdoor batting cages and put down AstroPlay (a grass-like synthetic surface that is also on Mountaineer Field) to make it one of the finest outdoor cages in the nation. Also, 50 white pine trees were planted behind the outfield fence from the left field foul pole to the right field foul pole to enhance the beauty of the field and give better depth perception to the players. A five-foot wide Astroturf halo around the home plate area with “Mountaineers” written in gold with navy trim has also been added, signifying the home of West Virginia baseball.
It's fair to say the ballpark that stands there today isn't the same one cleared off after the construction of the WVU Coliseum in the late 1960s.
Many improvements and changes have been made to the ball yard since its first game in 1971, one expenditure being a modern outfield fence with signage that cost more than $60,000. Ten years ago, a state-of-the art lighting system that cost more than $260,000 was constructed with the help of baseball alumni and friends.
Those two projects are among a series of improvements made to the field over the last two decades, beginning with an infield drainage system in 1981 and dugouts in 1985. Four years later a 1,500-seat grandstand and press box were constructed. Shortly afterward restrooms and a concession area were added.
An Astro-turfed double hitting tunnel was erected down the right field line in 1991. The tunnel is now lighted, enabling Mountaineer hitters to work on their game anytime. It was also around that time that West Virginia installed an eight-foot fence adorned with advertising which has since been replaced with an improved version.
Behind the fence is a modern scoreboard and message center constructed in 1998, which was accompanied three years ago by a $15,000 state-of-the-art sound system, giving Hawley Field a professional baseball environment.
Bullpens were constructed inside the fence, allowing room down the base lines for additional seating. The aim is to construct two 500-seat grandstand bleachers down both foul lines to increase the stadium's seating capacity to 2,500.
The funds for this project will come through the annual baseball marathon game, which raises thousands each year for the program, along with donations from baseball alumni and friends.
Hawley Field has become a source of great pride to all of those who spend their time edging the warning tracks, pulling out dead grass, trimming the infield or giving their hard-earned money to see it grow.
Directions To Hawley Field
From Pittsburgh, Pa.
By car: From Pittsburgh take I-79 S toward Washington, Pa. Merge onto I-79 S via EXIT 21 toward Morgantown crossing into West Virginia. Take EXIT 155 toward West Virginia University WV-7. Turn left onto CR-19/24 N/Chaplin Hill Road. CR-19/24 N/Chaplin Hill Road becomes US-19/WV-7/Jerry West Blvd./Monongahela Blvd. Continue across the Star City Bridge and through one traffic light. The WVU athletic complex is located on the right at the top of the hill and Hawley Field is directly behind the WVU Coliseum, West Virginia University's basketball arena.
From Washington, D.C.
By car: From Washington, D.C. take I-270 N toward Frederick, Md. Merge onto I-70 W via EXIT 32 toward Hagerstown, Md. Merge onto I-68 W via EXIT 1A on the left toward Cumberland, Md., crossing into West Virginia. Take EXIT 7 toward WV-705/Airport/Pierpont Road. Follow signs to Stadium. At the second traffic light off the interstate, turn left and travel up Easton Hill. Travel through two more traffic lights and turn right on Route 705 and remain on 705 until it becomes Chestnut Ridge Road (two more lights). Remain on 705, turning left at the second light, until 705 intersects US-19/WV-7/Jerry West Blvd./Monongahela Blvd. The WVU athletic complex, including Hawley Field, is located on the right.