Blue Knights baseball is home at last
Blue Knights baseball at Dakota County Technical College hit the NJCAA diamond for the first time in 2003, but the team didn’t play a genuine home game until spring 2012 with the opening of Ames Field on the college’s main campus in Rosemount, Minn.
“We played our home games at Alimagnet Park in Burnsville and Frederickson Field in Elko,” said Cam Stoltz, DCTC athletics coordinator, who noted that both facilities are more than a few miles away from student, faculty and staff population centers on the Rosemount campus. “Without a home field on campus, the team had a tough time building a solid fan base. With Ames Field, we have the opportunity to bring high-quality collegiate baseball home to our campus and area communities for the first time. The atmosphere at games is amazing—and the excitement can only grow as the news gets out.Paul DeMuth, DCTC operations director, has been camped at the new ballpark since construction began in early 2011, handling a million and one details as the person responsible for overseeing the entire project. His department’s go-to administrative assistant, Lynda McPherson, summed up her boss’s dedication. “Paul is always out at the new field,” she said. “He’s been basically running his office out of his truck for the past year.”
That dedication has paid off. Ames Field is one of the finest two-year college baseball facilities in Minnesota. The ballpark’s visibility from County Road 42, the primary arterial highway linking Dakota and Scott counties, will work wonders in enriching the college’s connection to area residents and businesses. That connection is already up and going strong through key partnerships with industry giants, Ames Construction, Cemstone and Albers Mechanical. All three companies provided substantial in-kind donations to make the project possible.“We could not have built this facility without the collaborative support of our college partners,” DeMuth said. “Ames Constructionprovided earthmoving, site preparation and skilled labor totaling close to $2.5 million. Ames crews with Ames equipment scraped and leveled the nine-acre property and brought in a whole new custom soil mix. They also installed four state-of-the-art drainage pounds. An Ames crew took on the labor side of a large-scale concrete job.”
DeMuth reported that Cemstone donated 400 cubic yards of concrete to the project, concrete used for slabs, flooring and walkways. Albers donated the installation of the heating and ventilation unit for the ballpark’s indoor facility. Construction students from the nearby Dakota County Area Learning School, better known as DCALS, worked on the dugout and indoor facility roofs. Students from the college’s Concrete and Masonry program also contributed to the indoor facility, providing their expertise and labor as blocklayers.“The indoor facility is a highlight of the park,” DeMuth said. “The multiuse building features a concession area, men and women’s restrooms, two prefab portable pitching mounds, and three batting cages that crank up to the ceiling or pull to the side. The building is made for year-round practice and training.”
Add a press box, grandstand and full-service dugouts, the latter equipped with lighting, power, double storage areas and wireless connectivity, and Ames Field becomes a showpiece for not only what higher education and industry can accomplish by working together, but also as the means to extend the reach of technical education. DCTC President Ron Thomas emphasized the ballpark’s role in community engagement and advancing the college mission of “Education for Employment.”“DCTC is committed to delivering relevant academic programs that educate our students for the high-demand, high-wage, high-skill jobs that serve as the foundation of Minnesota’s economy,” Thomas said. “Ames Field is more than an athletic venue. The ballpark represents a bridge to bring our college and our community closer together.”
Wes Crawford, the baseball team’s interim head coach, echoed the president’s perspective. “Building this ballpark represents the hard work of so many people from DCTC, area companies and our surrounding communities,” Crawford said. “My players are looking forward to becoming true ambassadors of the college. We’ve been homeless for a long time, but with Ames Field we have a chance to share all the advantages and benefits of the collegiate experience. Having such a wonderful home field is something special and our whole team is committed to making the most of it.”
As for Paul DeMuth, he’s looking forward to returning to his regular office and getting back to normal operations—at least until the next big project heads his way. He pointed out that Ames Field is 95 percent complete.
“Making sure everything came together like clockwork has been a challenge at times,” he said. “But one thing’s for sure. We built this ballpark to last a hundred years.”
- Luis Ramos
Hometown: Haines City, Fla.
Major: Individualized Studies
Quote: “You couldn’t ask for a better ballpark. We can finally say we have home field advantage.”
- Cameron Dressen
Hometown: St. Louis Park, Minn.
Major: Individualized Studies
Quote: “I like the availability of the ballpark. We can go out on the field anytime and practice. The indoor facility will be great for training.”
- Brad Williams
Hometown: Perth, Australia
Major: Civil Engineering Technology
Quote: “The energy during games at Ames Field is better and stronger. Having our own field is bringing us closer together as a team.”
Ames Field Gallery
To learn more about Blue Knights baseball, contact:
- Wes Crawford
Interim Baseball Head Coach