Kit McConnico Park nears completion, softball players can return to home field early May

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE)- In a matter of minutes, Kit McConnico park was turned from a money-making facility, to a nearly million dollar mess.

Since December's EF-3 tornado, the city of Lufkin has been repairing and replacing the facility.

In the mean time, adult softball leagues must play in Nacogdoches.

"We thought they'd have it fixed by now," said Lufkin ball player Jared Benton.

"They had to do what they had to do to get things ready for us to play and we're just happy they're open," said Chad King, another Lufkin commuter.

Players say sparking the age old rivalry between Lufkin and Nacogdoches is always fun.

"There's always going to be camaraderie and competition between Lufkin and Nacogdoches," said Nacogdoches player, Fred Matthews.

"It's fun for us because we've never played them before and we'll see how good they are," said King.

Athletics Supervisor Anthony Key says the change has been positive for both Nacogdoches and Lufkin players.

"It gave us a few more teams to come over and participate with us in our league. A little different competition," said Key.

There are roughly 20 Lufkin and Nacogdoches teams playing here, making it an even mix. Key says they've made minor adjustments to accommodate everyone.

"We used to play Monday through Thursday, now we play Sunday through Thursday."

It's an inconvenience for some Lufkin commuters.

"The drive, getting off work, you know having to carpool over here," said Benton.

Key says he hopes Lufkin players will feel welcome there anytime, even after Kit McConnico is finished.

"Softball is something that's going to bring everyone together," said Matthews.

The season's off to a solid start, with fresh competition to look forward to.

"So far so good," said Key.

Lufkin Public Works Director Steve Floyd, says the park is coming along nicely. Lufkin players can look forward to returning to their home field the first week of May. Angelina youth soccer is already practicing there.

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