Text and Photos
By David Hazledine
SYRACUSE — Wawasee Summer League held special opening day festivities Saturday, April 29, which included the dedication of the new Harold Schrock Fields, preceded by a parade featuring players, coaches and area emergency responders.
The parade, composed of all 19 teams dressed in a colorful array of uniforms, made its way from Syracuse Elementary School down Kern Road to the new fields, where a crowd of relatives and well-wishers waved and snapped photographs as they arrived.
Waiting at the gates to Schrock Fields were representatives of the Syracuse Parks and Recreation Department, board of directors and selected players held a ribbon-cutting ceremony before the crowd filed into the complex. Doug Schrock and Morgan Beer, a league player, wielded the scissors.
Patrick Moore, Wawasee Summer League commissioner, led a dedication ceremony for the fields, which included Syracuse Park Board President Paul Newcomer and an honor guard from American Legion Post 223.
Noting the roughly 400 players participating in the 2023 season, Moore highlighted “a successful year of registering.” In fact, along with T-ball players, the final tally should exceed 450 boys and girls ages 4-14, he later clarified.
Harold Schrock Athletics Complex, originally located at 900 Polywood Way, was “three years in the making,” said Moore, and was finally realized thanks in part to donations by Larry Martindale and Dick Pelletier, who together raised $250,000 “for the kids in this community.”
That amount was then “matched a couple times over,” by organizations and individuals including Polywood, K21 Health Foundation, Doug and Jeannine Schrock and others.
The complex, which is managed by Syracuse Parks Department, moved to its current location off Kern Road following an expansion project at the Polywood facility.
A moment of silence was also observed for Jamie Beer, who died unexpectedly on April 26. Beer served a full three-year term as commissioner of the Wawasee Summer League and was a long-standing board member for both the league and the Syracuse Parks and Recreation Department.
Beer was “a great father, coach and administrator. … He was a servant at heart,” said Moore. “He had been looking forward to this for four years.”
The ceremony concluded with Kosciusko County Sheriff Jim Smith throwing out the first pitch to catcher Michael Parker.