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Wade Stadium renovations go live

Wade Stadium, Oct. 23

Wade Stadium renovations will go live today, when the historic Duluth ballpark will host a college game after $4.6 million in offseason renovations.

The game, scheduled for 4 p.m. today, has the St. Scholastica Saints hosting the Wisconsin-Superior Yellowjackets in college-baseball action.

Wade Stadium, built with WPA funds and the former home to pro baseball in the Duluth-Superior area after opening in 1941, now hosts high-school and college ball as well as the Duluth Huskies (summer collegiate; Northwoods League). This offseason saw some serious changes to the classic facility: A new drainage system, new lights, new scoreboard, new synthetic turf, and new fencing (including padding) are ready for today. Repairs on the iconic brick walls was begun in the fall and continued this spring with tuck pointing and brick replacement. A new entryway is also part of the transformation.

The new drainage system and turf allows the ballpark to be used earlier in the season and after rainstorms. From the Duluth Tribune:

St. Scholastica had its fourth practice of the season at Wade Stadium on Monday, when the pitching mounds were installed on the field and bullpen.

“It’s all ready to go,” Saints coach Corey Kemp said. “It’s exciting. The fact we’ve practiced out here four times since our trip to Florida is a testament to itself. That is something we’ve never done before. It looks great, it plays great, it feels great just to be out there. This is one of the premier baseball stadiums in not just Minnesota, but the Midwest, and we’re just thankful to call it our home ballpark.”

Kemp said the renovated stadium will be a recruiting advantage for his program, and it should encourage participation at the high school level.

The Huskies season starts May 27. In other Huskies news, GM Craig Smith stepped down last week. He’s been with the team since 2003.

Image of new home plate laid in last fall courtesy of the Duluth Huskies.

RELATED STORIES: New home plate laid in at Wade Stadium; Duluth approves Wade Stadium renovations; Wade Stadium renovation funding strikes out; Saints, Huskies ballparks pitched for Minnesota state funds; Duluth: We’ll continue seeking state fund for Wade Stadium renovationsDuluth Huskies unveil renovation plan for Wade Stadium

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