By Christopher Tenpenny
New athletic opportunities for Midway students could be on their way as the Midway School Board unanimously approved to start high school baseball and softball programs.
The approval does come with contingencies as the Midway Baseball Booster Committee must provide 80 percent of the funds for the fields before construction can begin.
Midway Athletic Director and Principal Jesse Richardson said adding baseball and softball has been a popular subject for many years.
“It’s something that has been tried to be passed for a long time,” Richardson said. “I think the community is going to take to it really well, but we still have a lot of details to work out.”
Richardson said the main obstacle will be the funds for three fields. Originally, the board discussed two fields, a baseball and a softball field, but have added a third field for youth games to be played.
“The thought process was if we build these two fields, we will be cutting off our youth and hurting our program at the lower levels,” Richardson said. “When the two high school fields get built, we want to keep them nice, be able to host district events and limit who can be on the field. The board wanted to make sure there was another field for the younger kids to play on.”
While nothing has been determined for certain, the initial thought is the stadiums will be built in the southwest corner behind the school. The cost was for two fields was expected to be around $150,000. With the addition of a third field, engineers will come out to the school and map out how to fit all three fields and give a new price approximation.
Midway has limited space on its school grounds and several other sports use the open space.
“Part of our problem is we do not have a lot of land,” Richardson said. “Our javelin field is out there and we can’t tear everything up. We don’t want to ruin programs to add programs.”
The timeline for when the community can expect games to be played is still in question. While the hope was for the 2022 -2023 season, the addition of the third field could delay it another year or two.
How fast the booster club is able to raise money is also a factor.
“Everyone is going to have to be on the same page for this to get done,” Richardson said. “There’s a lot of excitement, but like anything new, there are people scared about the effects it will have. We’ve seen surrounding schools take a hit in track programs for baseball and softball. We don’t want the same to happen to our teams. We plan on letting our athletes be dual athletes if they so choose.”
Archie had eight athletes out for track this season while Adrian sent two pole vaulters to state.
Meanwhile, Midway had 10 athletes compete in 10 events at the Missouri state meet including a state championship in the girls 4×400 meter relay.
While there are a lot of details and contingencies in play before Midway sees a high school team on the field, the school has taken the first steps.