Construction of a new baseball field at South High is nearly finished, and it's taking shape as one of the nicest ballyards in Anchorage.
The Taylar Young Memorial Field will be named for the 16-year-old baseball player who was killed in an auto accident at the Kosinski Fields parking lot in May of 2009.
"My vision and dream was that it would be the nicest ballpark in Alaska. I have no doubt it will be," said Dennis Young, Taylor's dad, who along with Marion Davis, Taylar's grandfather, has been involved in the field's construction since the project broke ground in July 2009.
"I've been joking with the general manager of the Anchorage (Glacier) Pilots that they could play on this field when we're done. My hope is the state championships will be able to be played there."
The field will feature a 24-foot scoreboard, three rows of stadium-style seating and a sprinkler system for a natural-grass playing surface. It will serve as South's home field but will be available to other American Legion and Little League teams.
Other amenities ballplayers will enjoy are bullpens big enough for two pitchers to warm up at the same time, a full batting cage down the left field line, and infield clay that Young said is the same type used at Seattle's Safeco Field.
"They call it infield gold," he said.
South head coach Chris Williams, who has guided the Wolverines to two state American Legion titles since the program began six years ago, said the biggest advantage the team gains with its own field is the ability to practice on a regular schedule.
"You can run camps and run all kinds of things." Williams said. "To be a real baseball program, you gotta have your own field."
The goal was to have the field completed by this fall, but Young said next spring is a more likely finishing point.
"It'll be ready to go by baseball season next year," he said. "We were hoping to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony this fall. We just haven't figured out a date."
Young said about $250,000 has been spent on the field so far but thinks the final cost will be closer to $450,000. The state legislature provided $200,000 toward the project.
"We've just about come close to matching that in donations. A lot of companies have done work for free," Young said. "We raised about $120,000 in 2009."
Fundraising began shortly after Taylar's fatal accident, which occurred when he was hitching a ride across a parking lot. He was riding on the rear bumper of a friend's Chevrolet Malibu when he fell and hit his head on the concrete.
Dennis Young said it's been difficult to live with the grief.
"It's been a very big emotional roller coaster," he said. "We have our good days and we have our bad days. There's never any words you can put into anything like that."
Young said it is difficult to work on projects that remind him of his son, like developing a website for the Taylar Young Foundation.
But working on the ballpark offers a small degree of consolation.
"It was a sport that he loved, and it makes all of us very proud to be part of that, see something like this come to finish," Young said.
"I wish it was for other reasons."
Reach Jeremy Peters at email@example.com or 257-4335.