Historic Grainger Stadium named best field in the Carolina League
Kinston’s beloved Historic Grainger Stadium has been the host of the Down East Wood Ducks for the past two seasons. The local community has enjoyed coming to the park to watch some high quality minor league baseball. Apparently, they are not the only ones who love coming out to the ballpark.
The Carolina League awarded our Grainger Stadium as the Field of the Year on Friday after a league-wide vote by managers and their coaching staffs. Also being honored by the league was Head Groundskeeper Stephen Watson. He would receive an honor as Sports Turf Manager of the Year in the Carolina League. This is the second consecutive year that Watson has been so honored.
"I certainly want to thank [assistant groundskeepers] Ethan [Chapin] and Logan [Robinson] for all of the work they've done this year and my crew that's done a fantastic job," Watson said. "I could not do this without them. It's support from my coaching staffs, it's support from the city, helping me maintain it along the way." Watson's crew included assistant groundskeepers Logan Robinson and Ethan Chapin, as well as Mason Hughes, Hal Oliver, Andy Sullivan, and Mike Ulrich. Watson also received the honor in 2009 when he worked for the Kinston Indians.
The coaches voted on 11 different categories for the quality of all aspects of the field and grounds crew. Grainger Stadium finished in first or tied for first in 10 of the 11 categories; accumulating a score of 47.80, out of a possible high score of 55, to earn the title - a higher score than last season. Salem's Haley Toyota Field finished second and Carolina's Five County Stadium earned third place.
"There's nine other groundskeepers in this league that are doing the same things I'm doing and they're fighting the same battles," Watson said. "I certainly give a nod and our hat off to them as well."