Crozet’s Peachtree Baseball League is bursting at the seams, growing 64 percent in participation since 2016, particularly with the recent addition of girls’ softball. The teams need more field time for both practice and games, but space to build an additional field in Crozet is scarce. One solution is to add field lights to the Crozet Park’s Holzwarth Field so teams can use it into the evening hours. A fundraiser to build four LED light poles at the field is in full swing, hoping to raise $140,000 for the project.
Peachtree board member and coach Ben Jones, whose three kids have all played in the league, says that scheduling has become increasingly difficult. “Ideally, we try to hold two to three practices per game that they play,” said Jones, “and we don’t want to have to limit the number of games or practices because of limited field availability.” The league uses Crozet Park and fields at Crozet and Brownsville Elementary Schools and Field School, as well as the outfield at the Greenwood Community Center ball field, for practices.
In addition to the light poles, which will be specially shrouded in accordance with the county’s outdoor lighting regulations, the project also includes a state-of-the-art lightning prediction and warning system for the whole park, including the pool. “The lightning detection system will be split 50/50 with the park,” said Drew Holzwarth, Crozet Park Board member, “and will really take the guesswork out of weather detection for everybody.”
Baseball families and fans praise the incomparable community spirit present at games and many other events all year long. “Crozet Park is a jewel,” said Kelley MacDougall, mom of Peachtree 12U second-baseman Charlie Pausic. “It’s a lovely, safe place to bring your family, catch up with friends, and enjoy the games, and we need to do all we can to preserve that.”
The fundraiser is off to a fast start—it has already surpassed $115,000—due to a strong reception by both local businesses and individual donors, and any tax-deductible gift received by September 30 will be matched up to $50,000 by an anonymous donor. If successful, the league plans to have the lights and lightning detection system installed before next spring.
To donate, visit lights.peachtreebaseball.com, or mail a check, with “lights” in the memo line, to Peachtree League of Albemarle, P.O. Box 159, Crozet, VA 22932. Peachtree is a 501(c)(3) organization.