OT--state HS softball championship

The high school girls softball championship was moved from Bogle Field to Benton after we were selected to host the regional. I’m glad our games trumped any commitment to the AAA, but this post goes to something I just caught the tail end of this morning on the Buzz 103.7 radio show. A caller, who I gather was a HS softball coach or something, was lauding the Benton facilities. (I’ve never seen them, but I’m sure they’re nice.) No problem there, but he said Bogle was not large enough for the event. I gathered he meant in comparison to other potential venues. Huh? I can’t imagine another softball stadium in the state that would seat as many as Bogle or have any other amenities as nice. Anyone else hear that? Anyone else think he’s nuts?

I just looked up the Benton athletic complex on Google Maps (satellite photos available). Looks like this pic was taken as the complex was under construction; outfield grass was nice and green but there was only a roofed grandstand behind home plate, which couldn’t seat more than a couple hundred. Maybe there are also bleachers there now but…

The UCA website says the field there can accommodate up to 1,000 fans by using the berm behind the left field fence (Bear Pen?).

Bogle has 1,200 armchair seats plus whatever they can put on the berm.

Maybe it’s at a rec complex with more than one field?

Only seven games to play over two days. They don’t need more than one field, but they would need something with some decent seating capacity. And the AAA website says Benton Athletic Complex, which is their new football, track and softball facilities, plus an indoor practice area, a couple of blocks from the high school (their baseball field is adjacent to the high school). They built the complex in 2014.

Well, it sounds as though the caller this morning had no idea what he was talking about. I’ve never attended a game at Bogle, but I’ve driven or walked past in countless times. It’s about as nice a softball stadium as there is–or at least as I can imagine there is. Unless there’s some major league softball league somewhere I’m unaware of, I’d bet Bogle is about as nice as they come these days. Maybe not 10 years from now, but right now…it’s not likely to be in Benton or at UCA.

The Women’s College World Series has a permanent home at OGE Energy Field in Oklahoma City, which is owned by USA Softball. OGE Field (OGE is an power company that also serves Fort Smith and other areas in western Arkansas) seats 7,300. That’s probably the best softball facility in the country if not the world (softball comes back as an Olympic sport in 2020 at Tokyo). From the pics at the link below, they have armchair seats behind home plate, bleachers down the baselines.


Well, blow me over with a slight breeze. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as USA Softball. I sure didn’t know 7,300 people would show up to watch a game. I don’t guess I ever thought about where they played the softball CWS, but I guess if I had, I’d have known it was bigger than Bogle. Are there other somewhat comparable softball joints anywhere else in the country?

OU has won the last two national championships (must be nice to play an NC game 23 miles from campus). Last year the championship series was against Florida. The announced crowd for Game 1 of the title series was 8,337. From the video of the second game the next night, it was an even bigger crowd.

Oklahoma has always taken softball seriously. USA Softball headquarters are in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma high schools, especially those in the Edmond area but throughout the state, are strong in softball. If you watch the Women’s CWS, that stadium is packed for practically every game, and it’s not just fans of the teams (though most are), but locals who come out to watch good softball.