Baseball is finally being played at the Monongalia County Ballpark.
Three years in the making, the new stadium opened Friday, April 10. A capacity crowd of more than 2,500 people watched the West Virginia Mountaineers beat the Butler Bulldogs, 6-5, in 13 innings.
WVU football team walk-on and Parkersburg High School alum D.J. Carozza came out to support his fellow Mountaineers.
“It’s an awesome view to start, that’s for sure,” he said.
The stands offer a sweeping vista of the Monongahela River Valley and the Morgantown area below.
“I’d say it’s got to be up there with some of the best facilities not only in the Big 12, but in the whole country,” Carozza said.
The $25 million ballpark is the result of a tax increment financing project approved by the state Legislature.
Senator Bob Beach was among the guests on the diamond for the opening ceremony. He said the ballpark’s opening was the highlight of his fifteen years in the Legislature.
“I’ve worked on a lot of good pieces of legislation, but this is one that really stands out — the community’s going to always see and always being able to participate if they wish. And it’s just a wonderful, truly a wonderful experience,” he said.
A new Interstate 79 interchange, between the Star City and Westover exits outside Morgantown, is being built as part of the project. The interchange will allow 800 acres of land on the western side of the interstate to be developed.
Besides being home field for the WVU baseball team, the stadium is also home to a newly formed minor-league team, the West Virginia Black Bears. Their season begins June 19.