With the support of two generous gifts, the project to renovate Bauer Field, Valparaiso University’s baseball field, is off to a strong start. The two gifts total $550,000 and will provide the resources to install synthetic turf on the infield and down the foul lines. The total project will be done in two phases and, when completed, will transform Bauer Field into a quality Missouri Valley Conference facility.
Lead gifts have been received from Valpo alumni Lynn Scheutzow ’74 Young and Carl Young ’73 and the Deetjen family. The Young and Deetjen families both had sons who played baseball at Valpo. Kyle Young ’03 played four years from 1999-2003 and was the primary starting catcher in each of his final three seasons. He led the team in on-base percentage in 2002 as a junior. Tyler Deetjen ’12 played under coaches Tracy Woodson and Brian Schmack from 2009-2012.
“Everyone associated with the Valpo baseball program is so grateful to the Young and Deetjen families,” said Brian Schmack, head baseball coach. “As we have competed across the Missouri Valley the past two years, it became apparent that our facility was placing our players and recruiting efforts at a disadvantage. The renovation will transform Bauer Field into a different place and demonstrate to our players, recruits, alumni, and the community that baseball matters at Valpo.”
Baseball has been an important part of Valpo since the first team took the field in 1917. For the past 50 years the field has been located in the Eastgate area of campus, relocating from Brown Field in 1970. In 1989, it was named in honor of longtime coach Emory Bauer. The renovation is scheduled to be completed in two phases, with a timeline driven by fundraising.
Phase one will consist of installation of synthetic turf on the infield and down the foul lines (supported by the Young and Deetjen gifts), new grandstands, visiting dugout and press box, as well as advanced technology that will allow umpire replays, web-streamed broadcasts and improved press box and fan experience.
Lynn and Carl Young are longtime supporters of Valpo. Carl served on the Valparaiso University Board of Directors from 2006 to 2014 and on the leadership team for the Our Valpo, Our Time fundraising campaign from 2004 to 2009. He graduated with a bachelor of science in accounting and recently retired as chief financial officer of Kenan Advantage Group, an oil and gas trucking company he co-founded in 1991. Lynn earned a bachelor of arts in social work.
“Lynn and I are blessed to be in a position to support the Bauer Field project,” said Carl Young. “Valpo has been a big part of our family for many years, and we are excited about the chance to give back to the University. Two of our children are also Valpo graduates, and Kyle still has wonderful memories and friendships from playing baseball. If our gift can instill those same experiences in future players, as well as provide an improved facility, it will be a great investment.”
“We are excited to help start up the momentum for the baseball stadium upgrades” said Mark Deetjen. “Valpo baseball offers student-athletes an intimate small school experience while allowing them to compete at the highest level of college athletics. Coach Brian Schmack, with the support athletic director Mark LaBarbera, has worked hard to have the baseball program compete over the past years without the comparable facilities of their competitors. I know that the improvements will give them the tools to excel to the top and make NCAA appearances a regular occurrence.”
Phase two will complete the transformation of Bauer Field into a high-quality facility. It will add lights, making evening and late afternoon games possible, a new outfield wall, concession stand and improved parking, landscaping and fencing.
“When the University’s Board of Directors approved our move to the Missouri Valley Conference, they instructed us to take advantage of the national recognition and higher level of competition it would provide,” said Valparaiso University President Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D. “To compete and win at this higher level, we must provide our student-athletes with the same opportunities as those they are competing against. The support from the Young and Deetjen families is a huge step toward making that a reality for baseball. And for that, we are most grateful.”
These contributions for the Bauer Field renovation support Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future, a $250 million endowment campaign that will secure permanent resources for student scholarships, faculty development and programs that prepare students for lives of leadership and service. Forever Valpo was officially launched on Sept. 23, 2016, and has raised more than $238 million.