Panthers getting help with upgrades at PCHS softball complex

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Turner Ashby HS batting cages
The new shelter planned for the batting cages adjacent to Alan Knight Field at the PCHS softball complex will be modeled after the facility shown above at Turner Ashby High School in Rockingham County.

By Randy Arrington

SHENANDOAH — During its Nov. 10 meeting, the Page County School Board heard a presentation about upcoming upgrades at the Page County High School softball complex, including a new sound system, a shelter over the batting cages, improvements to a storage area, cosmetic updates and installing lights at Alan Knight Field.

Plans call for all improvements to be completed before the spring season gets underway in March, and much of the cost of the project is being donated. PCHS Athletic Director Bill Simmons said the new sound system is being funded by “a local business” and will be installed along with the lights on the field so wires can be run on the new poles.

A 35-foot-by-65-foot shelter will be built over the current batting cages adjacent to the field — modeled after a facility at Turner Ashby High School — which will allow batting and pitching practice during inclement weather. The addition of lights underneath the shelter will also extend the hours that the facility can be used.

“That’s going to be a tremendous gift,” PCHS head coach Alan Knight said. “Before, it was tough to go to the batting cages wet because it got rained on just like the field got rained on. With the cover, that should help eliminate that problem.”

The shelter is being provided through a non-profit organization called OneOfUs.Care, launched earlier this year by Jerry Carter and his wife Linda. The Carters are former residents of Page County, and Jerry is a close friend of Coach Knight and a great supporter of athletics throughout the region.

“Find a need and fill it was part of a sermon that I heard as a youth many a moon ago and I am willing to invest my time, energy and effort into getting this idea up and running,” Cater wrote in an email back in August, while coordinating a charity project for high schools in Carroll County, where he now resides as a retiree.

Carter and his non-profit are now looking for members of the community that would be willing to lend a hand to local contractors Arthur Campbell and Dennis Zimmerman, who have agreed to spearhead the construction — as well as local businesses willing to supply discounted materials. The project is planned to be started and completed during the month of January.

“We welcome the opportunity to create something that will benefit a community for generations to come,” Carter said on behalf of his organization. “The emphasis is to make it where anyone affiliated with the Page County softball program feels they could participate.”

The non-profit organizer emphasizes that while he encourages residents to get involved, they “don’t have to open their checkbooks.” Carter spearheaded other improvements at the PCHS softball complex in recent years, including fencing around the field. He also pushed for the naming of Alan Knight Field to honor the 41-year head softball coach that has brought home four state titles.

Most of the planned improvements to the PCHS softball complex should be completed before the 2023 spring season starts, and the Panthers begin their quest for a fifth state championship. Last spring, Page County finished as Virginia’s Class 2 state runner-up. The program continues to produce collegiate talent, with the Nov. 17 signing of senior first baseman Jocelyne Rinker to play Division I softball at Radford University.

Principal David Cale told the local school board on Nov. 10 that Page County High School “has a very rich history of softball” and these “gifts” would help enhance the program to reach even greater heights.

To view the Nov. 10 board meeting and PCHS softball complex presentation visit the link below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUgbQwR0-po

For more information on the upcoming project or details of OneOfUs.Care,

contact Jerry Carter at 276-398-2214 or send an email to: Jerry@oneofus.care

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