With a pitch from his wife, Robert Holzwarth Memorial Park opened Saturday morning to a crowd of eager ballplayers.
“I'm really proud that everybody came together and they worked hard, really worked hard, gave everything in Bob's name to make this field what it is today,” Sharon Holzworth said.
Just last year, Robert Holzwarth was here to cheer on the all-star team in the state championship.
He traveled with them to see his grandson play, when he died unexpectedly in his sleep. He was 74 years old.
“We were all sitting together at states and commenting on how wonderful an opportunity it is to be there, and then the next day we found out that, Mr. Bob Holzwarth had a heart attack,” said Melissa Miller whose son was on last year’s team.
The team wanted to honor the memory of their biggest fan with a new baseball diamond in Claudius Crozet Park and the community response was overwhelming.
“The community stepped forward and it ended up being over $50,000 of donations to this park and what it is now,” Miller said.
The players say they're glad they can honor Holzwarth in such a grand fashion.
“I just think it's pretty awesome to have this field in honor of him,” said Andrew Shifflett, one of the players.
Another player, Andrew Barrese said, “I think it's cool that we got the new batting cage so more teams can practice."
The new park will be open for the first time this season, and it offers many advantages the players didn't have before. It features four batting cages, new bleachers, a new sound system, a bigger outfield, and a new scoreboard.
The new field also has Holzwarth's name on the scoreboard. Mrs. Holzwarth says she couldn't think of a better way to remember her husband.