SPRINGFIELD -- The Missouri State High School Activities Association announced today that its Baseball Championships will remain at Meador Park in Springfield for 2008. The 59th annual high school state championships will take place May 28-31 at the 1,500-seat facility.
Meador Park hosted the 2007 Championships on short notice after the event's previous site in Columbia was announced as a potential NCAA Division I Regional host site. Despite the quick turnaround with the change in venues a year ago, the Meador Park experience for the participating schools, spectators and event organizers was very positive, attracting the sixth-
highest attendance total in tournament history.
"Last May we made a trip to Springfield a couple of weeks before the state tournament just hoping to find a place to play and looking for a local group willing to put forth its best effort in a short amount of time," said Dr. Kerwin Urhahn, MSHSAA Executive Director. "When the tournament actually got underway, we were tremendously impressed with the dedication this community had for the event and the hard work that so many people put into making it an overwhelming success. We wanted to reward Springfield for those efforts by bringing the baseball tournament back this spring. We hope Springfield will continue to be a vital part of our various state championship events well into the future."
Meador Park, located at 2600 South Freemont in Springfield, is currently the home of the Drury University Panthers. The site hosted the MSHSAA Baseball Championships six times prior to 2007 and also has hosted four NCAA Division II World Series and numerous other state, regional and national amateur baseball events.
In addition to the $100,000 in improvements invested in the facility a year ago -- including new dugouts, scoreboard, infield, irrigation system and public address system -- the Springfield-Greene County Park Board is continuing improvements on Meador Park this spring. A new lighting system that will be fully operational in 2-3 months, and many other facility upgrades are being planned.
"High school sports are an important part of our local sports scene, and the MSHSAA Championships are a big part of that," said Jodie Adams, Director of Parks for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. "We want to attract this event and many other high school championships to our community in the future, and we're so grateful for the opportunity to host the Baseball Championships again this May."
The Springfield-Greene County Park Board was named as a Gold Medal Award-Winning Parks and Recreation Department in 2000 and has been recognized by Sports Illustrated and the United States Olympic Committee. Springfield is currently the host city for MSHSAA state-level events in boys golf, boys tennis, girls golf and girls tennis.