Nebraska Wesleyan Softball and Baseball get a new home

Nebraska Wesleyan softball and baseball programs will have new home turf at the Lincoln Youth Complex, the multi-field facility planned for Oak Lake Park, which is southeast of the intersection of First Street and Cornhusker Highway. Construction is expected to begin in the spring, and games being played in 2024. It includes a baseball and softball stadium, with covered seating, batting cages, lights, artificial turf fields and will be used exclusively by Wesleyan student-athletes during the spring softball and baseball seasons.  

This is Senior Emma Alfieri’s fourth season on the softball team. In her last year, she feels excited about the new location and field. She hit a home run during the NCAA tournament against College of Saint Benedict.  

“I felt very bittersweet when I heard about the new stadium,” said Alfieri. “I came from a high school with a very nice softball field, so then coming to college with the field we currently have was an adjustment for me. I am so excited that the future of NWU Softball will have the opportunity. We have worked so hard over the years and having a new stadium is a big step in the right direction.” 

Senior Darrien Costello-Justus is in his fourth season playing NWU baseball. He attended the ceremony of the new fields and stadiums and was excited for the next generation of players to have this honor. 

“I think with the new stadium it will bring more eyes to Nebraska Wesleyan baseball not only for the city and state, but for our student body as well,” said Costello-Justus. “I also think that we all will remember Woods Park but being able to take pride in a field that we own is something we have not had in a long time. I think that everyone is going to be excited and ready to welcome the new stadium.”  

The stadium with introduce bigger audiences for both softball and baseball and give more popularity to the sports.  

The new visual layout of the upcoming softball and baseball fields for Nebraska Wesleyan athletics and for Lincoln Youth sports. (Photo Courtesy of Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau.)

“Having a new stadium will for sure give us a bigger audience. In the past, we’ve barely had any student body support come to our games. Having a nicer place with more seating I can guarantee it will have more people come. It will really help with our team atmosphere and program. The saying, ‘look good, play good’ will be the literal feeling when playing on our new field. Playing in a place like that will be a confidence booster for our team,” said Alfieri.  

Valerie Gerlach is a Senior at Wesleyan in her third year on the softball team. She will be using her COVID season of eligibility next year. Along with Costello-Justus, she attended the ceremony with fellow softball teammate, Bre Schneidewind. 

“Bre Schneidewind and I were the two softball players that got to attend the official announcement on site. It was the coolest thing to experience the vision for the complex in person and hear all the plans and thoughts that went into the project. I loved being one of the representatives there and giving a face to our program,” said Gerlach. 

She goes on to talk about the opportunities softball will have that will benefit their team.  

“I think most importantly we are finally going to have a field that represents the level of play we bring to every game. To be excellent you must play excellent, and this stadium is going to open many opportunities to bring high level teams to Lincoln, host college tournaments, and maybe even host a Regional in Lincoln for the first time ever,” explained Gerlach. “It’ll be an eye catcher for new recruits wanting to play softball, as well as people who see the Wesleyan signage and get curious about the University in general.” 

All three Wesleyan student-athletes agreed that the new transition will be easy. These students fell in love with this sport along with their teammates. This is a monumental shift in both programs that will benefit each team in the long run. The stadiums are a game changer. It will help travel expenses for Wesleyan, families and opponents.