Central Arizona College Baseball Stadium – Vaqueros
Photos by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
Central Arizona College Baseball Stadium 8470 N Overfield Rd Coolidge, AZ 85128
Year Opened: 1970 Capacity: 650
Central Arizona College (CAC) has seven campuses with the main one (Signal Peak Campus) in rural Coolidge, AZ. The college serves Pinal County students. It features on-site housing options for students, caliber athletic programs, and provides arts and entertainment for the community.
The baseball team – Vaqueros, aka DB9ers, began as a club team in 1970 and joined the NJCAA in 1972. They are in the ACCAC (Arizona Community College Athletic Conference), region 1. The team has been to the world series six times winning three championships, most recently in 2019. Nineteen CAC players have made it to the majors including Ian Kinsler, Tom Pagnozzi, and Doug Jones.
The team plays on the ballfield on the Signal Peak Campus, which has a newly installed grandstand, deserving of a winning team.
Food & Beverage 0
Concessions are not available for sale at the ballpark. Fans can bring snacks and drinks into the park, most likely needed if staying for both games of the frequent doubleheaders played.
If watching the game of baseball is your enjoyment pleasure, then a visit to a Vaqueros game is the ticket.
The field has been in existence since 1970, however, the grandstand is brand shiny new; completed during the 2020 pandemic season. Gone are the old dilapidated bleachers, shade cloth covering, and chain link fence backstop. In its place is a grandstand with a permanent cover, eight rows of bleachers with backs, holding 450 fans. The center seating section contains 40+ green plastic stadium fold-down seats with names on them (presumably of individuals who contributed to the construction costs). The top row encompasses a closed press box.
A ramp is available on the third base side with several places on the bottom floor for wheelchairs. Handrails are readily available for climbing the steps in the grandstand. An ‘easy-enough-to see-through’ net runs across the entire grandstand seating area to protect fans from foul balls. Much better than the old chain link fence.
Three sets of older bleachers sit down the first baseline beyond the visiting team dugout. No handrails on those and one set of bleachers is under a tree allowing for some shade. Fans bring lawn chairs and watch the game from this shaded area as well. No net is in front of this seating area.
Not uncommon, no lights grace the playing surface. Only day games are played.
A dot matrix scoreboard in the left field shows the basic line score; it’s a little hard to read on a bright day. The three national championship years are proudly displayed on the outfield wall underneath the scoreboard. The right field wall highlights CAC players’ numbers who have made it to the majors.
Small trees line the outfield wall making it a picturesque view. Behind the grandstand is Signal Peak so players on the field get a nice few as do those fans sitting down the first baseline.
CAC Baseball – Grandstand and Signal Peak, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
The team plays music between innings and home team players each have walk-up songs. More importantly, the volume is not intrusive and fans can still have conversations without yelling at each other. Nice job.
The campus is about seven miles west of Coolidge’s downtown core. Farms, ranches, desert, and open land run in between the two. The campus is peaceful and has a calming effect driving through on a Saturday morning.
The big attraction in Coolidge is the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. The monument highlights preserved remains of an ancestral Sonoran Desert people’s farming community and “Great House” and it is an educational stroll through the park on a spring day before a game.
Arizona Community College has the visually stunning Don P Pence Performing and Visual Arts Center. That is closed because of the pandemic (2020 – 2021) but if visiting once this is over be sure to check its schedule for events and entertainment.
For places to eat, the Casa Palomino Restaurant offers delicious Mexican fare. For more of a bar type environment, Gallopin’ Goose may be worth checking out. It’s a bar that serves food, has an outdoor patio (but it’s the smoking area) and bands perform on weekends.
I only saw two independently owned motels in Coolidge. For traditional brands, head to Casa Grande, AZ (8 – 9 miles from campus) and right off the I-10 Interstate. Seventeen miles from campus is Francisco Casa Grande, a former sports resort and training facility for the San Francisco Giants with a baseball bat shaped swimming pool and lush golf course.
Baseball fans can drive down to Tucson and watch a U of A Wildcats game, a Pima Community College baseball game, or head northwest towards Phoenix and catch spring training games or other ACCAC teams such as Mesa Community College.
Teammates are the biggest fans. Some scouts and lots of players’ parents are in attendance. Because Central Arizona College is about an hour or less from several of the other schools in the conference, often a contingent of visiting team fans attend the games. Fans in the stands are vocal and encourage the players and politely mutter, under their breath, about certain umpire calls.
Since Coolidge is in rural Arizona (about an hour from Phoenix, an hour 15 mins or so from Tucson), getting to the campus is best by car. There is the Cotton Express (local bus service) and the Central Arizona Regional Transit (CART) bus service (Florence to Casa Grande). It operates Monday to Friday, however, CART canceled stops to the campus (spring 2021) because of the pandemic.
Heading southeast on I-10 from Phoenix to Tucson, CAC is about four miles off the interstate.
Plenty of parking is available next to the stadium. Be aware of speed bumps when traveling through campus.
The grandstand provides ramps, spacing between seats is comfortable, sidewalks are plenty wide. The Shipping/Receiving Building across the street houses clean, automated, touch-free restrooms.
Return on Investment 5
Attending a game is free. The Vaqueros provide rosters in a cubby on the front center edge of the grandstand. If you’re a fan of watching baseball, it’s worth the drive (most Saturday games are doubleheaders). And, the team wins and expects to win; a nice combination.
Several other items are worth mentioning. First, that peak behind the grandstand? Players run that mountain every morning for conditioning. Wow.
The team’s jersey is fetching. Green jerseys tops with DB9ers in a yellow trimmed panel/banner across the chest.
Next, the college built respectable bullpens and batting cages for the baseball team just a few years ago.
The motto DB9 is present throughout the team and stadium. Its meaning is classified, but what I gather, it is a belief system and style of play that represents past, current, and future Vaqueros ballplayers. It helps build this championship team.
Finally, the team expects to win.
If in the neighborhood or traveling between Tucson and Phoenix in the spring, take a side trip to Coolidge and visit the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument and a winning baseball team in the Central Arizona College Vaqueros, aka DB9ers.