Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Youngsville’s baseball park gets a facelift in preparation for a new summer league. By Erin Z. Bass

                                     Photo by Daniel Landry
Members of the “Sugar Canes” — (from left)
Samantha Roy, Stacey Smith, Ashley Coco,
Kelly Creel, Erin Mendoza, Lee Harbourt,
Elizabeth Pollard and Julia Pollard — join
Cane Cutters mascot “Eddy” and team
owner Richard Chalmers at the newly
renovated Fabacher Field in Youngsville.

At 7 p.m. on June 3, the Acadiana Cane Cutters will take on the Victoria Generals at Fabacher Field in Youngsville. Kicking off a summer season of wooden bat baseball, the Cane Cutters are the newest member of the Texas Collegiate League and will give college-level players the chance to showcase and improve their skills during the off-season. In turn, Acadiana gets to enjoy 30 home games of baseball and all the fanfare that comes with the sport.

Owned by Richard Chalmers and several other partners, the Cane Cutters will be housed at Fabacher Field, and a major overhaul of the park has been under way before the season starts.

“The field has been getting a facelift to make it look like more of a minor league [field],” says Chalmers. With a mix of covered bleachers and box seats, the park can hold 1,400 fans. Music will be played between innings, fun jumps set up for kids outside the gates, and a beer garden located in left field.

Chalmers’ day job is president of oil and gas consulting firm Chalmers Collins & Alwell, but he says he’s always been a baseball fan. “My dad is from the East Coast and played minor league, so we always went to games,” he says. Chalmers also coached youth baseball for 25 years and believes in the positive effects of the sport. “I really like minor league, because kids play for the right reasons,” he says. “They have more passion.”

Before the Cane Cutters, players would have had to join a league in places like Cape Cod or Alaska. “There’s a huge need for places for college kids to play in the summer,” says Chalmers. “It’s a good fit for Lafayette.”

Locals may recognize some of the names on the Cane Cutters’ roster. Taylor Dugas is a Teurlings graduate now playing at University of Alabama. Jacob Derouen is a Lafayette High alum from Louisiana Tech, and Matt Hicks plays for UL Lafayette. Other players come from Nicholls State, Texas A&M, University of Southern Mississippi and as far as Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. To join, players must be currently enrolled in college, playing for their school’s team and have remaining college eligibility. Of course, there’s always the hope that a scout will take notice.

For fans in the stands, this means the chance to see future major leaguers in Acadiana.

The Cane Cutters’ season kicks off June 1 with an away game against the Alexandria Aces. June 3 is the team’s first home game, and a fireworks show and other opening activities are planned. The season runs through Aug. 11. Visit for more information.

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