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Augustana softball celebrates opening of new ballpark

Lexi Landen perfect game christens renovated Bowden Field

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Augustana and MSU-Mankato line up for the national anthem before the first game at new Bowden Field in Sioux Falls on Sunday, April 2, 2023.
Jurgens Photo/Augustana athletics

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.

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Augustana pitcher Hailey Houston delivers the first pitch at new Bowden Field on Sunday, April 2, 2023 in Sioux Falls.
Jurgens Photo/Augustana athletics

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.

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Augustana softball coach Gretta Melsted high-fives a Vikings player on her way home during the Vikings' home opener on Sunday, April 2 at the new Bowden Field on the Augustana campus in Sioux Falls.
Jurgens Photo/Augustana athletics

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.

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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.

Matt Zimmer is a Sioux Falls native and longtime sports writer. He graduated from Washington High School where he played football, legion baseball and developed his lifelong love of the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. After graduating from St. Cloud State University, he returned to Sioux Falls, and began a long career in amateur baseball and sports reporting. Email Matt at mzimmer@siouxfallslive.com.
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