Big changes could be coming to La Salle High School if the school is successful in securing a long-term deal that would call for the Lancers baseball team to play its home games at Arcadia County Park beginning next season.
No deal yet is in place, but talks have been extensive.
La Salle athletic director John Matheus confirmed the school is in negotiations, adding that the school’s long-term plan calls for a pool addition and possibly a new gymnasium where La Salle’s baseball field currently sits.
Anthony Harris, slated to officially take over athletic director duties July 1 upon Matheus’ departure, also confirmed the news and said the school’s plan initially had the Lancers playing home baseball games at Arcadia County Park this season.
“But something fell through right before the beginning of the season when we weren’t allowed to play at the park for the dates we had submitted,” Harris said.
La Salle coach Harry Agajanian welcomed the idea of playing at Arcadia County Park.
“If we put a little work into the place we can make that into a nice facility out there,” he said. “It does need some work, like some bullpens. It’s not a whole bunch of work and it would be a great place to play.”
As with everything, there are pros and cons.
“It’s fun to play on campus,” Agajanian said. “It’s always great to be at the school and have the kids there, so we lose that factor. On the flip side, we could get some night games there. We can get a good crowd for, say, Friday night games. That would be a lot of fun.”
La Salle last season played its Del Rey League home games at Arcadia County Park, largely in part because the Lancers had pitcher Brian Hill, known as a fly ball pitcher. At La Salle, an oddly aligned right field works against the Lancers when playing teams that hit the ball long. Such was the case this season when Bishop Amat belted four home runs against La Salle in the series finale at La Salle, prompting Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto to admit that the field dimensions paved the way for numerous home runs and a 14-run lead in the first three innings.
La Salle’s right field is lined 300 feet; left field at 275 feet; and right-center at 260 feet.
“Maybe a couple of them hit the gap, but a few of them are definitely caught (at Bishop Amat),” Nieto said. “It’s one of those games you hope you never get to at this park when you deal with those kind of parameters.”
That was a stark difference from the previous meeting at Bishop Amat’s field when La Salle pushed the game to extra innings before losing 3-2 in nine innings. Bishop Amat hit no home runs in that game.
Harris noted the difference, too.
“It’s pretty obvious when you play a team like Bishop Amat that’s going to go yard against you more times than not most of those balls are going to be long outs somewhere else,” he said.
If the school is successful in securing Arcadia County Park, the Lancers softball team — after losing their home field at nearby Latter Day Saints Church and currently playing at Big League Field Dreams in West Covina — would join the baseball team at Arcadia, Matheus said.