HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. -- The Hollidaysburg Area Little League on Saturday unveiled the new Joe M. Sheetz Field, complete with a state-of-the-art playing surface and an 25-foot wall in left field, reported The Altoona Mirror.
Sheetz children Tyler and Max will throw out the first pitches with the first game on the new field to follow.
The league's board of directors decided a few years ago that a new field was needed because the old one was more than 30 years old. "It was time for the great town of Hollidaysburg to have a great field again," Mac Rosenbaum, secretary of the board, told the newspaper. "It's really a community thing as well as a sports thing."
The project began three years ago by raising money through fundraisers and donations. A major contributor was the Sheetz family, including Travis Sheetz, who is very actively involved with youth baseball in Hollidaysburg. Convenience chain Sheetz Inc., donated $175,000 toward building the new field, Sheetz said.
Other contributors included Gordon L. Delozier, Inc., Ralph J. Albarano & Sons, Stiffler-McGraw & Associates, Long Electric and about 25 other local businesses, said the report.
"My family had been wanting to do something in my dad's name," Sheetz told the paper. "We figured this was the greatest thing to do, contribute to the town as well as to our dad. We are losing too many good athletes going to play in Altoona, and we want to keep them local. This will help the future of baseball on up to the high school."
Joe Sheetz passed away in August 2006 at the age of 60 after a lengthy battle with kidney cancer. He was executive vice president of store development for 25 years. He was succeed by his son, Joe S. Sheetz.
The construction of the field began in late September-early October 2009, the report said. Workers demolished the old field and began building the new baseball field from scratch.
A signature mark of the field is a 20-to-25-foot high fence in left field, a tiny replica of the "Green Monster" at Fenway Park in Boston, said the report; however, Hollidaysburg's wall will be named "Shmonster," in honor of the Sheetz family, it added.
A new concession stand and dugouts were also built, and Rosenbaum said the Joe M. Sheetz Field would rank as the top state-of-the-art little league field in the area.
Plans are in the works for the Hollidaysburg Little League to be able to showcase the field to others by hosting area tournaments in July and inviting ERA Sports to host a tournament in August.
Discussions are also taking place between the league and the Dean Patterson Little World Series committee about having the Sheetz Field host the area Little World Series, said the report.
Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz, with more than $3.7 billion in revenue for 2009 and more than 13,000 employees, operates more than 360 convenience locations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina. It provides an award-winning menu of Made-To-Order (MTO) subs, sandwiches and salads, which are ordered through touchscreen order point terminals.