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BY Todd Britton



EMERSON, Georgia -

The new Shaw Sports Turf fields at LakePoint Sporting Community recently hosted the first summer tournaments at the facility and the performance of the fields was beyond expectations.

Over the course of 55 consecutive days this summer, Perfect Game USA hosted 15 tournaments at fields throughout the area, and showcased many of those games on the four recently completed Shaw Sports Turf baseball fields at the complex.

The four fields at LakePoint hosted 1,380 games during those tournaments.  Each field saw 345 games during that period, averaging 6.3 games per day, per field.  During what has been a stormy summer, there were no rainouts on the Shaw Sports Turf fields.

“Food for thought…..if a DI college team played every single game (56) at home for six straight seasons they still wouldn't have played as many games as we did on each of the fields over the course of two months,” said Kevin Herlihy, Spring Swing Director with Perfect Game.  “We can't thank our friends at Shaw Sports Turf enough for the tremendous customer service they provided Perfect Game and LakePoint.”

When completed, LakePoint Sporting Community will be the largest synthetic turf installation in the world, spanning more than 1,200+ acres to provide state-of-the-art venues for more than 40 different sports.  Perfect Game is recognized as the world leader in hosting high-level amateur baseball events.

Perfect Game officials said the Shaw Sports Turf fields played a large role in the success of the tournaments.

“Running a 72- or 96-team week-long tournament ten years ago seemed like a Herculean effort, and that’s when the weather cooperated and it didn’t rain 17 inches in two weeks, like it did in 2006,” said David Rawnsley, Vice President of Player PersonneI.  “I distinctly remember being concerned that trying to run an even bigger tournament would be next to impossible, that we were pushing the envelope of available fields, manpower, technology and just plain luck back when we were talking about a 128-team event.  The thought of running a 304-team event (the just completed WWBA 17U) and a 296-team event (the WWBA 16U) in back to back weeks would have seem ludicrous just a few years ago…….because it probably would have been.”

Of the fields, Perfect Game Vice President Tyson Kimm said, “I’m blown away.  It’s fantastic.  I don’t think Shaw Sports Turf could have done a much better job.  It looks amazing and it plays a lot like grass.  That’s what we wanted from Shaw and they delivered.”

LakePoint hosted a series of videos from the facility called “Turf Talk” and posted them on the company’s YouTube channel.  Several players commented very positively on the turf during interviews.  The Twittersphere was also alive with comments from players and coaches about the fields.

Jim Watts, the Shaw Sports Turf Territory Manager who worked on the project from the beginning, takes a great deal of pride in the summer’s success.

“There are a lot of claims out there regarding the aesthetics, durability, and performance of synthetic turf fields,” said Watts.  “With the fields at LakePoint, the proof is in the pudding.  Perfect Game tournaments feature the elite when it comes to baseball.  This is the next generation of Major League players and to have the seal of approval from these kids, coaches, and Perfect Game officials is the greatest endorsement for our systems.”

The tournaments hosted at LakePoint this summer included:

PG/ East Cobb Invitational 16u

PG/ East Cobb Invitational 17u
PG/ East Cobb Invitational 18u

PG/ East Cobb Invitational 13u

PG/ East Cobb Invitational 14u

PG/ East Cobb Invitational 15u

2014 WWBA 2015 or 17u National Championship Qualifier

2014 WWBA 2016 or 16u National Championship Qualifier

2014 WWBA 2017 or 15u National Championship

2014 WWBA 2014 or 18u National Championship

2014 WWBA 2015 or 17u National Championship

2014 WWBA 2016 or 16u National Championship

2014 WWBA 2018 or 14u National Championship

2014 14/15u PG/Evoshield Classic

2014 17/18u PG/Evoshield Classic

The LakePoint baseball fields utilize Shaw Sports Turf’s TruHop system designed by Shaw’s R&D team, in conjunction with former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz.  The TruHop turf system is tailored to fit each performance area of a baseball field, including the infield, outfield, warning track, base path and foul lines.  When completed, Perfect Game will have 16 Major-League-size fields at LakePoint.

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