FAYETTEVILLE, Ar. (KNWA/KFTA) – Bogle Park, the home of the Razorbacks, but for this week and this week only, it’s the home of SEC softball.
All 13 SEC softball teams are here for the conference tournament which starts on Tuesday.
“Our event staff, Austin, our grounds crew, everybody does such an excellent job that it’s going to be rewarding to get to showcase them and the work that they do, I know they are going to kill it,” head softball coach Courtney Deifel said.
The last time the SEC Softball Tournament came to Fayetteville was back in 2010.
While a lot of things have changed since then, one thing has not and that’s groundskeeper Austin Freeman, who’s been working on Arkansas’ fields since 2000.
Even though he became the head groundskeeper for Bogle Park in 2018, he still remembers helping out with the last SEC Softball Tournament in Fayetteville.
“It’s a lot different cause then it was a regular game, we didn’t have any logos or any graphics it was just the field looked like your home field,” Freeman said.
In 2023 though, the field gets “SEC-ified.” Banners, logos and signs put up all over the park and special SEC hashtags and logos are sprayed onto the field.
Even though those only took a few days to set up, Freeman says making the field look this good took longer than that.
“It’s actually taken all year to actually get to this point because Mother Nature is finally cooperating we’re getting the sun and the weather we need to get the grass green this time of year,” Freeman said.
Freeman added the last finishing touches to the field Monday morning and is excited to show off the ballpark that won the D1 Field of the Year last season.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere, whether it’s an Arkansas fan or Tennessee fan. I mean the SEC coming together should be great,” Freeman said.
The SEC Tournament begins Tuesday with a game between Missouri and Mississippi State.
Arkansas will play on Thursday at 4 p.m. against either Alabama, Missouri or Mississippi State.