After 16 years, Belmont baseball has a new scoreboard

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 04-28-2023 2:52 PM

For years, trying to follow a Belmont baseball game was like a complex game of concentration: Were the Red Raiders winning or losing? Or was the game tied? Was it a full count on the batter? Or was the count 2-1? 

Over the 16-year tenure of Matt LeBlanc’s coaching career at Belmont, parents and fans have been left to their best guesses thanks to an old, poorly-functioning scoreboard.

Now, after years of fundraising, help from athletic director Cayman Belyea and from a local business, the Red Raiders have a new one. There’s no more debate over the score, the inning or how many outs there are. 

“We have a really nice facility,” LeBlanc said. “We’ve had a successful team, but the major problem, year in and year out, is how do you follow the game? You think about the kids, and you expect them to know the count, know the score and all that, but often times they don’t or they get caught up in the game. It’s obviously meaningful in that way.”

The new scoreboard, costing between $7,000 to $8,000 per LeBlanc’s estimation, wasn’t exactly the easiest to install. His assistant coach Jim LaClair owns an electric company, so he wired up the new board.

Putting it into place though? That was a whole other ordeal.

LeBlanc had reached out to several local companies before Larry Major, who works for Pike Industries and whose son played baseball at Belmont, offered to help. Along with Mike Wallace who brought a crane, they used ropes and pulleys to hoist it into place.

“A community effort, if you will,” said LeBlanc.

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While the new scoreboard brings much-needed improvement, LeBlanc also hopes their fundraising can help pay for additional field improvements over the next several years.

They’re hoping to put in a bullpen, update the dugouts and are looking into improving the drainage system on the field because it retains water.

“This isn’t the be-all-end-all,” LeBlanc said of the scoreboard. “Everything we do is to try to put the money back into the program so that not just one year can use it, but every year. Generations of kids coming up will be able to use it.”

A new drainage system or a bullpen mound or even a new scoreboard might not sound like the most glamorous purchases, but they go a long way in making the experience for the student-athletes as worthwhile as possible.

“Unbelievably thankful for everyone that’s donated their time and money and effort,” LeBlanc said. “We talk about needing the community, and I think that’s what we have here. We’re building a community, and people are giving back. That’s just awesome.”

The Red Raiders have started the season 3-1 and resume their schedule on Monday hosting Berlin, where no one will have to wonder which team is winning or losing.

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