App State baseball stadium gets improvements ahead of spring season

App+State+baseball+adds+new+centerfield+jumbotron+before+the+2023+season.

Ashton Woodruff

App State baseball adds new centerfield jumbotron before the 2023 season.

Chance Chamberlain

App State baseball continues to improve the fan and player experience at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium with multiple additions as the 2023 season nears. 

Last spring, a batter’s eye, a visual backdrop to aid the batter when at the plate, was installed on the outfield wall, which improved the game’s way of playing. 

“Definitely a huge impact,” said senior catcher Hayden Cross. “Early spring, the batter’s eye made it easier to see, especially when catching.”

Over the summer, new seating along the first baseline and a scoreboard were installed. The scoreboard was named after C. Philip Byers, a big supporter during the funding process. 

“We can never repay him for that,” said head coach Kermit Smith. “We have a very supportive group from our alumni fans.”

The scoreboard adds a new element to the game-watching experience, as different visuals and numbers will be displayed.

“Going to be huge for the fans to see statistics on the board and also the players to see trackman numbers too,” said senior first baseman Luke Drumheller.

The beauty of Smith Stadium is known locally and nationally, in part thanks to App State alum Max Renfro. Renfro captured the backdrop of the field, which was noticed by the MLB

Along with the beauty, the play of App State baseball has been noticed by fans, too, as the team recently reached the highest season ticket sales and season attendance since 2012. 

“Very unique place to watch a game,” Smith said. “Firepits, outfield deck, new seating on the first base side and general admission areas.”

This season, App State returns multiple seniors as they push for the top of the Sun Belt. 

“We got a really good team this year,” Cross said. “We got a chance to make some noise in the Sun Belt.”

There has been a buildup for the season by fans and players as they’re excited to impact the team, especially those playing for the final time.

“Giving it my all this year and not regretting anything is my goal for this season,” Drumheller said.

These improvements to Smith Stadium have come with the continual progress of the athletic program from year to year, as App State baseball has risen in prominence in the past few years.

“You want everyone to be on that level,” said Smith of App State Athletics. “To have a championship athletic department.”