Augustana softball celebrates opening of new ballpark
Lexi Landen perfect game christens renovated Bowden Field
SIOUX FALLS — After almost two years of waiting, the Augustana softball team finally christened its new home ballpark, the newly renovated Bowden Field, on Sunday when they hosted a double header with NSIC rival Minnesota State-Mankato.
It went, well, perfectly.
After beating the Mavericks 3-1 in the opener, the Vikings completed the sweep in the nightcap on a perfect game by pitcher Lexi Lander in a 2-0 win. The sweep extended the Vikings' winning streak to nine games, improved them to 4-0 in NSIC play and 17-8 overall.
That the Vikings are winning is old news. The 2019 national champions have missed the NCAA tournament only once since 2010. But Bowden Field's facelift is a big deal injecting new life into an already successful program. The field is fully artificial turf, which will drastically reduce weather cancellations and reschedules. Larger, heated dugouts with bathrooms were added, there's chairback seating in the grandstand and a press box with a suite. The school has not disclosed the cost of the renovations, but it immediately makes the facility one of the best in the region and best in Division II.
Lander's outing provided the perfect exclamation point on the park's grand opening, as she retired all 21 Maverick batters in order, five by strike out. Torri Chute and Delaney Young had RBI singles to account for the Vikings offense.
Those two provided the offensive punch in the opener, too, with Young hitting the first home run in the new park in the fourth inning, a two-run shot that broke up a scoreless tie, and Chute added a solo shot in the sixth.
The Vikings split a doubleheader with Concordia-St. Paul on Monday to move to 18-9. Augustana will be back home against the University of Sioux Falls for a doubleheader on Tuesday, April 11.