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Panther ball teams set for night games

The off-season for the Corydon Central baseball and softball teams welcomed new additions to their programs: lights.
Over the summer, lights were added to the softball and baseball diamonds on Corydon Central’s campus. The new addition will provide the opportunity for night games, the ability to complete full junior varsity softball games and assure the return of hosting sectional tournaments.
The current Panther baseball schedule consists of five night games, the first coming against Silver Creek on April 24. Baseball coach Zach Sipes said his players are excited about the opportunity at playing home night games.
‘It’s an opportunity the guys are really pumped up for,’ Sipes said.
Michael Uhl, Corydon Central’s athletic director, said the IHSAA is now taking in consideration each facility having lights for schools wishing to host sectional baseball or softball tournaments. Last year, Corydon Central hosted the Class 3A softball sectional and had to start games at 4:30 p.m., a rush for many schools who had to travel. Trying to squeeze in two sectional games meant trying to beat out the daylight.
The addition of lights puts Corydon Central at an advantage in bidding to host sectionals in the future. This year, the hosts are Crawford County for softball and Mitchell for baseball.
The Lady Panthers softball team will also play a few games under the lights during the regular season. In softball, the varsity contest precedes the junior varsity game. In the past, a junior varsity game would last until the sun went down, sometimes only getting in a few innings.
‘We have a good group of softball kids,’ Uhl said about the large number of players. Now the junior varsity team will be able to play an entire game with the addition of lights.
This coming season, the Jeffersonville (April 15) and the Floyd Central (May 15) games will start with the junior varsity and conclude with the varsity game, allowing the varsity to finish under the lights.
Uhl said he believes the advantage of having lights will likely benefit the baseball team more than the softball team due to the higher trajectory of a baseball when hit in the air.
The baseball field at Corydon Central also received off-season repairs to the drop-off in elevation in left field. Dirt was brought in to fill the sink-hole affect.
‘We have a good group of parent volunteers who dropped in to help with repairing the field,’ Uhl said. ‘Parents have sown grass and everything. It looks a lot better.’
Uhl is also hoping for a more cooperative summer, wishing for more rain for the soccer field, which is located behind the backstops of the ball fields. The soccer field was scheduled to be playable last year, but the lack of rain didn’t help grass grow, thus forcing the teams to play at the YMCA fields.
The field was re-seeded in November, and by all accounts, is in good condition.
‘Hopefully, Mother Nature can cooperate more this year from May to August,’ Uhl said.
At Lanesville, athletic director Matt Kellems said the school is looking to add lights to its baseball facility in the next year or so.
Other significant facility upgrades from around the county include resurfacing Lanesville’s tennis courts over last summer. The update to the courts has been the only significant upgrade the Eagles’ athletics has seen this year.