On a memorable evening, the Depew High School baseball team emerged victorious on a brand-new edition of Wednesday Night Lights.
A sparkling new facility means prime time is no longer reserved for football. The Wildcats hosted non-league rival Nichols under the lights on Wednesday, marking the first time Depew played a home baseball game at night.
“Never happened before so it’s cool to be a part of it,” senior shortstop Joe Pagano said after reaching base four times in a 12-0 win. “Everything about this field is great.”
The Wildcats are also scheduled to host West Seneca West under the lights on May 2nd and the field is likely to see plenty more action after sundown.
“It’s just awesome,” Wildcats senior co-captain Zac Buck said.
The home game was the fifth this season for Depew. Down the road, rival Lancaster has played just one game at home on its grass field, despite having the services of Brian Koperski, widely regarded as one of the best groundskeepers in Western New York.
“This is a great facility,” Depew coach Dennis Crawley said. “A lot of other teams were rained out and here we are out here playing. And our JV team played right before us. It’s great.”
The facility – part of a $15.5 million capital project approved by voters in 2016 – opened for soccer in the fall. In the spring, the baseball teams – as well as softball and lacrosse – have been able to battle the wet and cold spring outside instead of being confined to a gym.
“It’s been a great addition,” softball coach Dan Seelig said earlier this spring. “The way it’s set up, even though it’s been chilly, we’ve had plenty of practices out there.”
The all-turf facility is located next to Cayuga Heights Elementary School, adjacent to the football field and behind the high school. It’s a nice upgrade for the baseball team that had played its home games at the long outdated Dawson Field, a five-minute bus ride down Transit Road.
The new home digs are well appreciated, especially by the senior class.
“It’s real nice,” senior outfielder Dante DiRienzo said. “It’s something we’ve never had before. Our field before was not the best, so to have this now is awesome.”
The win improved Depew’s record to 5-1 overall. Freshman Luke Kuczmanski had four of Depew’s sixteen hits. Pagano, DiRienzo, Buck and winning pitcher Ethan Krakowski all had two hits apiece for the Wildcats.