Huntington Beach High’s quest for a CIF-SS Division 1 title came to an unexpected halt on Friday as the Oilers – ranked first in California – were upset 4-1 by El Dorado in a quarterfinal game. However, there’s one title they can claim: the nicest baseball facility of any area high school we’ve seen.
Unlike most prep fields, which consist of a diamond, netting and a sketchy small stand or two of bleachers, the HBHS baseball home looks like a miniature pro stadium. In the area behind home plate, there’s a section of bright orange folding seats of the kind you’d find at Angel Stadium. This year the program even sold season tickets for those prime spots at $200 each with a minimum purchase of two seats and a maximum of eight.
More traditional bleachers flanked that area, and the whole complex backs up to a rise, so that fans can relax on the grass with a blanket and snacks while watching the game below. It’s truly a “Field of Dreams,” with better facilities that the one in the movie.
Huntington Beach High is in a pretty affluent area and the baseball program is a national power. I’m not saying that what the Oilers have is something that all of our local high school baseball (or softball) programs should aspire to, but it does serve as an example of what can be done.
The issue is more than philosophical because the Garden Grove Unified School District is making its plans for implementing its second bond issue, and sports fields and gyms are on the table. A new football stadium in under construction at Garden Grove High (set to open this fall) and a near-identical one promised for Bolsa Grande.
GGUSD officials promise that “all athletic facilities” will be considered for possible renovation and/or replacement. Well, if they’re looking for something to emulate, they don’t have to look much further than Goldenwest Street and Yorktown Avenue to find something done really right.
One more note on football stadiums on Memorial Day. The new stadium at GGHS will officially be the Michael A. Monsoor Memorial Stadium, named after an Argonaut grad (class of 1999) that became a Navy SEAL and received the Medal of Honor for heroism by sacrificing his life to save comrades in a grenade attack.
Naming the new facility after him is the right thing to do, but what makes it even better is that plaque-work at the stadium will also list and honor other former Argonauts killed in action during America’s wars, starting with World War II and continuing through the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War and more recent struggles in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.
Today’s the day not only to finish up an enjoyable three-day weekend, but also to honor those who paid the ultimate price for America. It’s nice to see that at Monsoor Stadium, that honor will be paid every day.
Pete Zarustica writes the Monday Morning Coach.