Don Sanders Stadium Readies for 10th Season
It's almost been a full ten years since the Don Sanders Stadium opened and the facility. "widely considered one of the finest athletic facilities in the Southland Conference," will celebrate its first decade throughout 2015, reports GoBearkats:
Opened February 11, 2006, with a 16-3 victory over Texas Southern, the stadium has seen the Kats post a combined 178-98 record in nine seasons. It was also the site of the 2008 Southland Conference post-season tournament, which saw SHSU go 4-0 to win the title and advance to the NCAA Regionals for the second consecutive season.
The opening of the $5.5 million facility that includes spacious dressing areas, indoor hitting cages, and coaches’ offices, has coincided with the greatest period in Sam Houston’s baseball history, appearing in six NCAA Regionals in the last eight seasons.
In all, Sam Houston has clinched four championships on the field at Don Sanders Stadium. In addition to the 2008 tournament title, the Bearkats have dogpiled at home to celebrate each of the past three consecutive Southland regular-season championships.
“The Don,” as it is affectionately referred to, has hosted the likes of Baylor, Houston, Nebraska, Michigan, Rice, San Diego, Texas A&M and this year will bring in the seven-time College World Series participant Wichita State.
Last season the facility saw the addition of a new $300,000 video board, made possible by the generosity of Sam Houston alums Bud Haney and Don Sanders. The board measures 32 feet tall by 36 feet wide and features a 20mm high-definition LED video display.
Don Sanders Stadium has undergone other minor upgrades over the years, enhancing it even further. Padding to the outfield wall was added in 2013 while the four-foot fences that line the foul territory were padded a year later. This fall the infield was laser leveled and filled with new dirt and conditioner, improving the playing surface. Before the 2009 season, the dugouts were given a big-league look, with the addition of railings and professional style benches.
The stadium officially seats just under 1,200 but a record 2,032 fans turned out for a game against Texas A&M in 2012. There have been a few marathon games played at Don Sanders Stadium, but none longer than in 2010 when SHSU beat Northern Colorado 4-3 in 15 innings. The longest game by time was a 12-inning, 4-3 win over A&M-Corpus Christi played in 4:01.