The top spots for baseball playoff games

The baseball field in La Grange.  

Column by: Josh Pratt 


As many of you may already know, on the side I am the 3A and 4A coordinator for In my time with the publication, I have worked with approximately 1,000 coaches and have traveled the state watching ball games. The 2017 baseball regular season will come to an end this week as the bi-district round of the playoffs are scheduled to get underway in just seven days. Some teams will decide on a home and home series if they are lucky enough to have a facility worthy enough to host, but most will decide to play at a neutral location.


Today I want to list the top venues I have been to personally and explain why I feel these are the top spots in this part of Texas. Before I get into the list, I do want to explain that I believe an ideal facility is made up of three simple ingredients, with the first two carrying the most weight.


The first would be the playing surface. Turf is becoming more and more popular, and though it does not automatically put itself above a natural surface, it definitely provides its benefits. The second is seating. The players and coaches are one part of the game, but the fans are what adds excitement and drama, and how they view a stadium is important. The third, and slightly less important, is location. As long as you do not have a bad reputation, most teams are looking for a neutral location for their games, regardless of where they have to go. To note, the Dell Diamond, the host of the state tournament, will not be included.


My top playoff venues:


1. Weimar (Strickland Field): A 2A school? Absolutely. I have attended around 5-6 playoff games in Weimar over my 5 years of covering baseball on a statewide level, and to me, there is no better spot for a game. When you first walk into this stadium up to the backstop, you realize this place has a lot of history and tradition worn into it. In 2005, the park hosted a Babe Ruth League World Series Tournament. In addition to the pristine all-natural playing surface, you have the old style wooden bench seats that are covered, plus additional seating down the line for bigger matchups.


2. Mumford: Another 2A school? You got it. There is not much in Mumford. As you would guess, this field is sort of in the middle of nowhere. However, as you drive down highway 50, you can’t miss this place. Mumford is a basketball school and is not known for baseball, but the school district saw the opportunity to build and elite stadium and they did not disappoint. Mumford not only has an all-turf playing surface, but also has covered seating that would make most 6A schools jealous.


3. La Grange & Brenham (Tie): La Grange is very similar to what Mumford has to offer. They are both modern parks, and the only edge Mumford has is the turf and a slightly larger amount of seating. Regardless, they did it right here. Brenham has the winningest baseball program in the state (1,500 wins) and they have a facility to back it up. The Yoemen played here during their 2011 title run, and for me, it was the top park before the state tournament.


4. Franklin: Over the past 10 years, Franklin has done a very nice job of updating all their facilities to being some of the best in the state for an all around athletic program. Part of that is the baseball field. The seating is slightly smaller than what Mumford and La Grange offer, but it’s still large enough for most smaller schools. If rain becomes an issue for the natural grass, you can always move over to the Ranch complex, where infield turf fields are available.


5. Cameron (The Yards of Cameron): Cameron is the latest school in the area to transition over to a turf field. You are not going to find a better playing surface that what this park offers. Other amenities include a large video scoreboard, event center and bathrooms in the dugout. The only thing preventing The Yards from being higher on the list is the seating situation. Right now, you cannot fit more than a couple hundred people in the stands and they are not covered. This can easily be corrected over time with wrap around seating behind the backstop to go along with a cover. And yes, there would still be room for lawn chairs!


Honorable Mention: Waco ISD, Madisonville, Georgetown East View, UMHB, Bastrop.