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County Brewers celebrating opening of new diamond

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The Grande Prairie County Brewers finally have a home field that’s actually close to home. Tuesday marks the grand opening of their new baseball diamond on the north side of the Crosslink County Sportsplex in Clairmont.

County Reeve Leanne Beaupre says the field was originally built with minor soccer in mind, as well as rugby.

“Fast forward a few years later, the interest wasn’t there from the rugby association, but we were approached by Carl Linden in association with the senior baseball team and the county felt that was a very good fit for us and we’re very happy to have the County Brewers in the County of Grande Prairie, playing out of the first baseball diamond that we have in the sportsplex facility.”

County council approved nearly $89,000 to convert the pitch back in May 2015, and Linden himself and the Brewers invested in it through private donations and sweat equity. Most of the work was done that year, and the finishing touches were put on the diamond in the spring of 2016.

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However, a large storm blew through the region that June, damaging the fields and making them unplayable for the rest of the season. Brewers player-coach Kyle Bucknell says the team continued to play out of Rycroft in the meantime, but not having a field close to the city meant losing some players due to the travel.

“Other than that we just had to travel to the other teams [like] Peace River, Grimshaw, Dawson Creek. It’s hard to get sponsors when you’re not playing in town and now that we are, we’ve got a great group of sponsors.”

Bucknell adds that the new diamond is already one of the nicest in the Wheatbelt Baseball League.

To celebrate the grand opening, Red Rock Urban BBQ will be sponsoring a free barbecue at tonight’s game versus the Rycroft Rage. Both teams have a record of 9-1-1 so far this season. Ernie’s Sports Experts will also be on hand selling Toronto Blue Jays gear, and the game will be followed by live music. First pitch is 7:15 p.m. and admission is free.

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