The Duncan Wildkats baseball players, present and future, have something new to take pride in. Just over the fence in centerfield is a brand new red and white scoreboard.
Wildkat head baseball coach Brett Jensen said it didn’t happen without the help of a lot of good people in Duncan, and it is a story four years in the making.
Four years ago it seems a former Major League Baseball player was driving through Duncan and the Wildkats’ field caught his attention. The player spent some time in Duncan trying to drum up donors to raise funds so he could apply for grants to pay for improvements to the Duncan baseball facilities. He spent a few days at the Duncan field taking pictures and getting measurements.
Many Duncan folks chipped in to get the ball rolling. Jensen’s own mother, Rulene Jensen, even donated $3,000 to the cause.
Then they waited. They waited to learn the fate of the grant searches.
One year later and no word from the ex-big leaguer.
Three years later and still no word.
At some point the good folks of Duncan finally found somebody connected with the MLB-ex and were told she was a part of the “grant searching foundation.” When asked about the Duncan donors’ money, she said it had all been spent and sent them receipts.
Jensen said the receipts were for lodging, the Duncan field photography and other expenses, but there were no real signs of grant efforts.
In the meantime, Jensen became aware the Arizona Diamondbacks do, in fact, give out grants to high school baseball programs around the state.
Still wanting to see something better for his young men, in mid-January Jensen applied to the D’Backs.
Lo and behold the Diamondbacks came through for the Wildkats, to the tune of $10,000.
Jensen said he took part of the money and purchased equipment for the team. A key purchase was a batting machine, along with new uniforms and other items necessary for a baseball team on a game-by-game and season-by-season nature.
Brand new dirt for the diamond’s infield will be put down after this season ends so rocks out in the infield won’t have to be picked out before and during the games.
A portion of the proceeds was split with the softball team. And, it went to the purchase and installation of the new scoreboard.
On Friday, Jensen proudly pulled out a sheet of slightly crumpled paper with the names of the people and organizations around the Duncan area that either donated or helped out with the insulation of the new scoreboard.
The materials to erect the scoreboard cost about $3000. Jensen is thankful for those who contributed monetarily and to Duncan Valley Electric for installing the scoreboard, Carver Electric for lending a hand by doing some of the electrial work and fixing a pump close to the scoreboard. One Wildkat parent even donated extra bags of concrete.
The brand new scoreboard was first put to use Friday when the Wildkats lit it up with an 11-8 win over region rivals Patagonia Lobos.
The Wildkats sit 7-4 overall with a 5-4 conference record and 2-2 in Regions 1A South competition.