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Newly restored baseball field at Burley Middle School hosts game at open house

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 9:40 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The project to restore the old baseball field at the former Burley High School is moving ahead. Wednesday night, a game took place on the historic diamond.

Ahead of the game, Donald Byers threw out the first pitch. He was one of many Black students and ballplayers in the 1950s who left a legacy at the former Burley High School -- a segregated school.

“We still need more progress, but a lot [has been] made and it’s enjoyable to see what’s going on here today,” Byers said.

What’s “going on” was a ballgame, just like old times. But this one included everyone -- a game that matched up high school all-stars from the area against the University of Virginia club team.

“I think it’s great for everyone to learn about that, and it really brings the whole community together,” said Will Zimmerman, a member of the UVA club team.

The game was played on the newly renovated field, which is the result of a project that’s swept a community looking to honor and recognize the past.

The goal of the project is also to shape a more inclusive future. That impact extends from the field to the classroom.

“We’ve done a great job of incorporating our living legends... because we want our students connected to those legends while we still have them here,” Kasaundra Blount, the Burley Middle School principal, said.

Blount says students can learn integrity and fortitude from these legends.

“Even though we’ve still got problems, as you can see, we have people from all walks of life here today,” Byers said. “And it’s nice to be able to have that kind of environment.”

While the field is ready to host some games, it’s not yet complete. The next step is to re-grade and re-seed the outfield. After that, work on the highly-anticipated Burley Walk of Fame will begin.

Copyright 2021 WVIR. All rights reserved.

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