Jan. 31, 2012

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Barcroft Park to be beautiful new home for Colonials

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

Phil@collegebaseballinsider.com @RoadToOmaha


WASHINGTON, D.C. – In recent years, many programs have made facility upgrades. Some have been minor alterations and several have been major overhauls. One was years in the making.


George Washington University has played at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va., since 1993 after playing home games for many years on the Ellipse near the White House. But the Colonials always were looking for a better home, and it took nearly 20 years for that new home to finally materialize.


GW worked out a partnership with the Arlington County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department (PRCR) for a new stadium at the site of Baseball Field #6 at Barcroft Park.


“We looked at two or three different spots to build a field or renovate a field,” GW coach Steve Mrowka (left) said. “We determined that it would be better to approach Arlington about doing this venture.”


Mrowka said the leadership of previous athletic director Jack Kvancz, along with Vice President Bob Chernak and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Russ Ramsey was instrumental in getting the decision made to build at Barcroft Park, which is less than five miles from campus.


“I look at it as being mutually beneficial,” Mrowka said. “We’re going to build a multimillion dollar facility on their field and we just use it when we need it.”


The renovations include a new turf field, stadium seating, dugouts, bullpens, press box and concessions area.


“The turf was a key thing in that this field is used a lot,” Mrowka said. “As soon as we get off it from a game or doubleheader, they’re coming on with another doubleheader. Natural grass cannot withstand that. The turf is going to allow them to rent out that field and do whatever they need to do.”


The new facility also should help with recruiting for the Colonials.


“We’re looking for this to really energize our recruiting efforts and really help our recruiting and our player development,” Mrowka said. “Everyone wants to go to a nice gym and a nice workout place. It’s a nice environment to develop, to really keep the guys focused and motivated for practice.”


Construction began in the fall and is expected to be completed for the 2012 season, which will be Mrowka’s eighth with the Colonials. GW was 19-36 a year ago, including 9-15 in the Atlantic 10, but hopes to improve on those numbers in their new home.


The Colonials lost their top hitter in Brendan Kelliher, who batted .358 in 2011 with 13 doubles, 15 homers and 41 RBI. Another loss was pitcher Bobby Lucas, who fanned 95 in 71.2 innings a season ago. He was drafted in the 27th round by the Washington Nationals, giving GW 12 straight years with at least one player drafted.


Some of those returning Colonials include senior Stephen Oswald (right) (.297, 11 2B, 4 HR, 33 RBI), senior Brett Bowers (.294, 27 RBI, 10-12 SB) and sophomore Owen Beightol (.251, 14 2B, 30 RBI, 11-15 SB). Junior Brian Derner will lead the pitching staff. He was 3-6 a season ago with 52 strikeouts in 82 innings.


“We have a young pitching staff but an experienced lineup,” Mrowka said.” So we’re hoping to make some strides and be energized by the new field and hopefully it all comes together for us.”


(photos courtesy of GW Athletic Communications)