Ed Walton Field, the home of Charlotte Country Day School’s baseball program, was named the 2017 North Carolina Private School Field of the Year.
The annual award, now in its fourth year, is presented by the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association, and commends both public and private schools for their excellence in presentation and maintenance of their respective baseball facilities.
The field was dedicated in 2009 to long-time head coach and nine-time NCISAA state championship winner Ed Walton, following his 2004 retirement. Since then, the field has been carefully maintained and renovated to reflect the program’s excellence during Coach Walton’s 31-year reign. Between 2008 and 2009, several dramatic updates were made to the field, including the replacement of the chain link backstop and original dugouts, and the addition of a warning track and stadium lights. The field now boasts a brick wall, netting, and walk-out dugouts, as well as state-of-the-art foul poles that were added in 2015.
Head coach Mike Hennessey expressed his gratitude in being able to coach on such a high-quality field, calling it “one of the best playing surfaces in the state” and “a friendly and comfortable park to play in.” Hennessey attributes the source of his pride entirely to the hard work and dedication of the maintenance staff.
The maintenance team, headed by Director of Grounds Bill McLemore, has a long history of taking the utmost care of Country Day’s facilities, and works both in- and off-season to ensure the baseball field is of the highest quality for the players, coaches, and fans alike.
“Winning this award is a reflection of the dedication, teamwork, and attention to detail that the entire Country Day grounds team prides themselves on,” McLemore said. “Our goal for each field is to provide the students with a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience every day.”
Walton remains one of the primary caretakers of the field and can be found cutting the and watering the grass most days. He has also served as a volunteer assistant for the team since his retirement from the school. He was named to the NCBCA Hall of Fame in 2016.
“We have received numerous compliments from opponents, fans and even umpires,” Hennessey said. “I am the luckiest coach in North Carolina to have Bill McLemore, his staff, and Coach Walton taking such great care of our facility.”
The school was presented at the NCBCA’s annual convention last month.