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Finch Field / Thomasville HiToms

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Finch Field / Thomasville HiToms
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Finch Field has been the home of Thomasville baseball since 1937, when the Thomasville Chairmakers posted a 63-48 record in the Class D Carolina State League, Since then, the ballpark has hosted teams in the North Carolina State League and the Carolina League, where current Florida skipper Jack McKeon won a championship in 1968. Today, Finch Field is home to the Thomasville HiToms of the college wood-bat Coastal Plain League. The ballpark's grandstand was completely redone for the 2006 season, and it's an amazing transformation.

FAST FACTS

Year Opened: 1937; renovated in 2006
Capacity: 2,200
Architect: Steel Stadiums
Cost: 2006 renovation: $1.4 million
Dimensions: 325L, 350LC, 390C, 365LC, 330R
Website: hitoms.com
Phone: 336/472-8667
League: Coastal Plain League
Ticket Prices (2009): Box seat, $7; general admission, $6; children (6-11), $4; children (5 and under), free
Parking: Free in adjoining parking lot
Directions: From I-85 Business (not the main I-85): take Exit 118 (National Highway/Rte. 68). At the bottom of the ramp, turn right onto National Highway (if coming from the south, turn left onto National Highway and pass back under I-85 Business). Proceed approximately 100 yards, turn left into entrance marked with red "Finch Field" sign.

Finch Field has been the home of Thomasville baseball since 1937, when the Thomasville Chairmakers posted a 63-48 record in the Class D Carolina State League, Since then, the ballpark has hosted teams in the North Carolina State League and the Carolina League, where current Florida skipper Jack McKeon won a championship in 1968. Today, Finch Field is home to the Thomasville HiToms of the college wood-bat Coastal Plain League.

The ballpark's grandstand was completely redone for the 2006 season, and it's an amazing transformation. To be honest, the old ballpark wasn't that great: it was small and limited, with tiny concession areas in the back. You needed to be a hardcore baseball fan to take in a full season of HiToms games, even with a short CPL schedule. But with the addition of a new grandstand and concession/restroom building, Finch Field is one of the nicest facilities in summer-collegiate baseball.

The new metal grandstand features four rows of theater-style seats and right rows of aluminum backed bleachers. Most important, the grandstand is covered, so even at a late-afternoon game the fans are covered from the hot sun or cool rain. Shade at a ballpark is a treasured commodity in the Carolinas, and the designers of the new grandstand were smart to include cover here.

The ambiance at Finch Field was considerably improved with the addition of a brick wall stretching down each line.

A new brick concession building completes the new ballpark ambiance. Flat-screen displays next to the concession window promotes upcoming Hi-Toms games. Besides features a large kitchen area, the building also sports new bathrooms. Enough space was left between the grandstand and the concession building to form a natural concourse; the HiToms added to the atmosphere with banners commemorating historic moments in Thomasville baseball history.

Still down the third-base line: a picnic pavilion and a concession building with a picnic deck. The corner concession is still also the only place in the ballpark to buy a beer.

The left-field manually operated scoreboard remains largely the same. The outfield features a unique warning track, which isn't a track at all but rather an embankment, steep in the left-field corner and then tapering to a slight embankment in right field. This is a somewhat treacherous area: water gathers at the base of the embankment, making balls hit over the left fielder's head an adventure.