Generous donation from The Spartan Foundation and Hap and Meg Esbenshade made the project a reality
Following six months of renovations, Marietta College is excited to announce its baseball facility will now be called Don and Sue Schaly Field at Pioneer Park.
“I am confident that alumni of the program will be ecstatic to know we are reintroducing Pioneer Park into the name,” said Brian Brewer ’93, who is in his 17th season as Marietta’s baseball coach. “Many of us played for Don Schaly and he was not only the architect of this program, but also a catalyst behind creating a first-class facility. With the renovations and improvements, Pioneer Park is once again the best in Division III.”
The project, which started in May, was made possible by a lead gift from The Spartan Foundation and Hap and Meg Esbenshade, and other generous gifts from alumni and friends. The Spartan Foundation and Hap and Meg Esbenshade have a long history of support at the College, including generous support of The Marietta Fund, Student Life and Athletics. They continue to support the Esbenshade Series, which was established by the late Harry H. Esbenshade Jr.
“It was Hap who saw the wisdom in recognizing the Schalys, while also returning the stadium name back to Pioneer Park,” says Bill Ruud, Marietta College’s 19th President. “We are excited that we will get a chance to officially recognize Hap and Meg Esbenshade, the Schaly family and many others this spring at a home baseball game.”
The extensive renovations included raising portions of the field as much as three feet, the installation of a FieldTurf playing surface, an 8-foot ChampionWall, larger, step-down dugouts and a pole-less backstop with net and padding.
It was important to the donors, as well as the College, that the field is community-oriented. For example, the baselines are fitted for youth baseball and softball, as well as for a portable fence for younger ages and a portable mound for softball. Marietta has won six national championships – more than any other Division III program – after Brewer guided the Etta Express to titles in 2006, 2011 and 2012. Schaly won national championships in 1981, 1983 and 1986. Marietta has also produced 50 players who have gone on to play some level of professional baseball since 1965.
The Etta Express have been dominant at home winning close to 85 percent of its games (908-167), which includes a 126-44 record in postseason games. Pioneer Park also hosted the Division III World Series from its inception in 1976 through 1987.
The facility was enhanced in 1988 with the addition of the three-story Kent Tekulve Media Building (which houses the press box, umpires’ locker room, meeting room, and concession stand), and elevated bleachers. The labor and equipment were donated through the Washington County Home Builders Association. The current Triple-A lighting system was added in 1994 through a lead donation from former Pioneer All-American and Major League pitcher Terry Mulholland ’85.
Located in Marietta, Ohio, at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers, Marietta College is a four-year liberal arts college. Tracing its roots to the Muskingum Academy back in 1797, the College was officially chartered in 1835. Today Marietta College serves a body of 1,200 full-time students. The College offers more than 50 majors and is consistently ranked as one of the top regional comprehensive colleges by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, as well as one of the nation’s best by Forbes.com. Marietta was selected seventh in the nation according to the Brookings Institution’s rankings of colleges by their highest value-added, regardless of major. Marietta College has also been named a Great College to Work For two consecutive years (2018 and 2019).