AMESBURY — The Amesbury High School softball program has had a long and storied history with five state titles, four Eastern Massachusetts titles and 25 Cape Ann League championships since 1988. But all of the team’s successes have begun to be overshadowed by the shabby field it has been playing on.
Named after the former varsity coach, the Christopher Perry Softball Field is next to the Amesbury Middle School and has seen its better days.
“If you went down to the field you would see a true embarrassment,” Amie Bezanson said. “It is unplayable at this point. Right now, if there is a thunderstorm mid game, the girls are quite exposed to the elements and next to metal, with all of the fencing. We also have pavement currently in left field. In fact, a girl from another town broke her wrist playing left field a few years ago.”
Bezanson is an AHS softball alumni with a daughter on the team. The elder Bezanson has joined forces with her fellow softball alumni Melissa Delisle and Sherri Levasseur and set out to build a new Chris Perry Softball Field in an empty, city-owned backfield just a few feet from the current diamond.
“It’s not fair to these girls to produce such high quality softball and not have a place to be proud of,” Bezanson said. “The drainage is there in the backfield. It is a flat piece of land and there is a fence that we will use as a safety fence, while adding a new fence about 12 feet before that and put in a brand new field.”
Bezanson and company have taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and have been selling protective face masks for their cause. They also set up a GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/f/ams-softball-field last week. The GoFundMe page has a goal of $15,000 and raised just under $10,000 in three days.
“We are getting there,” Bezanson said. “I have also contacted Newburyport Bank and asked them to sponsor a new scoreboard because our current scoreboard is unusable. It is completely rusted through.”
Talks have also begun with local masons and construction workers to build new dugouts for the field. According to Bezanson, Mountain Top Landscaping owner Matt Bailey is one of many Amesbury High School alumni who have pledged either money, labor or both to the cause.
“At this point, we really haven’t run into any issues,” Bezanson said. “The athletic director, Glenn Guerin, has given us his blessing but we want everyone to know that none of this is coming from the school district’s budget.”
Jacquie Waters is the current softball coach and is one of the main reasons why so many people have volunteered to aid in the field project, according to Bezanson. People interested in helping the softball field project can email Bezanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Her dream is to move the field into the backfield,” Bezanson said.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.