Howard Lake Field, constructed in 1980, is one of the finest community college fields in the state of Alabama. The field’s capacity of 350 includes bleacher-style seating, picnic seating, and a seating area for fans that wish to bring their own chairs. Howard Lake Field also houses a roomy press area, concession stand, storage room, and men and women’s restrooms, which are all located at the rear of the third base dugout.
Arguably, the best playing surface in the ACCC, Howard Lake Field is constructed of Tifton-Bermuda Sod, which the Pirates play on during the fall season. However, each November, Howard Lake Field is overseeded with Kelley Premium Turf Blend Ryegrass to maintain a plush green, bulls eye pattern for the spring season. The field, which typically plays fast, is cut at a 5/8 inch cutting height by a Jacobsen Tri-King 84 inch reel-type mower. The infield skin, which was recently re-surfaced in November of 2009, consists of a 60/40 ratio “infield mix”, which is actually a clay and sand mixture and topped with 2 inches of Turface MVP to give Howard Lake a light tan contrast against the bright green grass. Howard Lake Field’s grass and skin are manicured daily in order to maintain a safe, consistent, and true playing surface.
“The Lake”, as it is affectionately called by the players and staff of CVCC, is in the midst of its first major face lift renovation since its construction in 1980. Completed projects in the $500,000 renovation include a new 8 feet tall outfield wall with a 16 feet batters eye in centerfield ranging from gap to gap. The wall is painted black with its signature color, Columbia Blue, striped at the top, with Columbia Blue and Athletic Gold numbering indicating the walls distance from home plated and has its distinct Skull and Cross Sword logo etched in white above the distance markers. The remainder of the fence consists of black vinyl chain link enclosing the foul territories from foul pole to dugout. Additionally, new home and visitor bullpens have been constructed using landscaper’s stack stone to give the bullpen a pleasing aesthetic look. Furthermore, over than 30 feet of foul territory has been removed from the field and a new warning track has been cut in to make room for future buildings at the complex. With phase 2 of the renovation project beginning on May 1, 2012, these new buildings will include new 75’ x 15’ dugouts, a new concession/restroom/storage building, a covered hitting facility, and complete landscaped renovation of the entrance way to the bleacher/grandstand area. Once completed, Howard Lake Field will become the premier junior college facility in the state of Alabama.
Howard Lake Field has been the host of many historic Chattahoochee Valley baseball moments and is commonly known as one of the toughest places to play for its opponents. Since the break out season of 2003, the Pirates have amassed 161 home victories and a .749 winning percentage with the 2010 edition of the Pirates posting a school record and unprecedented 22-0 home mark, en route to the Pirates school record, 42 wins. Additionally, the 2007 club set the single season home win total at The Lake when they posted an amazing 24-4 home record that year. Furthermore, of Coach Adam Thomas’s 413 career wins, 212 have occurred at The Lake, with 6 of his milestone victories taking place here, the latest being win number 350 on March 16, 2010 versus Darton College.
Along with tons of victories, there have been numerous milestones and great moments to take place at Howard Lake Field, included in that are several no-hitters. The latest coming on February 15, 2005 by Colby Elrod of Douglasville, Georgia in a 10-0 win over Faulkner University. Howard Lake Field has also been the home of several current and former Major League Baseball players, which include pitcher Danny Cox (St. Louis Cardinals), catcher Randy Hunt (St. Louis Cardinals), pitcher Tim Hudson (Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves), and pitcher Chuck James (Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Minnesota Twins), not to mention numerous draft picks who had successful minor league careers. The latest coming following the 2010 and 2011 seasons in pitchers, Jeff Shields and Derek Varnadore, who were selected in the 7th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks and the 14th round by the Florida Marlins, respectively.