Sioux Center’s softball field at Open Space Park was chosen as the 2018 Iowa Diamond of the Year. This comes a year after the baseball diamond was named Iowa Baseball Field of the Year.
The Diamond of the Year award recognizes excellence in turf management and is given to the top baseball or softball diamond in the state including Division 1 and professional fields. It honors the turf manager and staff’s efforts in leading the sports turf industry. Sioux Center’s field was nominated by people in the community and the softball organization for its high quality and its impact on the community and the students who play on it.
“As an umpire, I see many, many softball fields and I consider Sioux Center’s softball field as one of the best in Iowa,” said umpire Deb Richarz in her nomination. “The infield has a great surface to play on and is always lined to perfection. The outfield is immaculate and very professional looking in the way they mow it. It is a wonderful place to play ball for the athletes and for the umpires to work a ball game.”
Sioux Center Parks Director Lee Van Meeteren credited Dave Egdorf, who manages the field on game days, Colton Waring, and the parks crew for their high standard of care for the facility.
“We keep our fields in the best possible condition they can be for the safety of the players and also for the level of play our teams want,” said Sioux Center Parks Director Lee Van Meeteren. “The effort and care our parks grounds staff give is aimed toward perfection. It’s easier to maintain things at a high level when you take the time to pay attention to little details.”
The softball field at Open Space Park serves the high school and Dordt College teams and is used for games and practices about 200 times a year.
“As teams traveled from many miles to play in Sioux Center, they were amazed at the atmosphere, the field condition, and the beauty of our entire complex,” said Sioux Center Head Softball Coach Kari Schmalbeck.
The softball diamond is operated jointly by the City of Sioux Center, Sioux Center High School, and Dordt College. Van Meeteren said this recognition is a testament to the collaborative approach Sioux Center takes.
“It really comes down to how well we work together. This award is based off events, budgets, performance and appearance,” he said. “To be able to do all those things at a college and high school level, it takes us partnering with the school, college and city, and we’re able to do more with shared resource.”
Sioux Center Parks staff will be presented a plaque at the Iowa Sports Turf Managers’ Association annual conference in January.
Open Space Park’s fields have been recognized several times, including as the Iowa Baseball Field of the Year in 2000 and 2017 and the Complex of the Year in 2009. These awards are given by the Iowa Chapter of the Sports Turf Managers Association. Open Space Park was also recognized as an STMA Certified Facility for Environmentally Responsible Management for 2018-2021.