Photos by Gregory Koch Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
Kevin Anderson Field at Bridgeforth Stadium 1001 E Cork Street Winchester, VA 22601
Year Opened: 1979 Capacity: 1,500
Located in Winchester, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley, Shenandoah University's athletic teams are known as the Hornets and compete in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). The Hornets' baseball team has enjoyed much success recently, winning four ODAC titles in nine seasons and regularly being ranked in the Top 25 nationally. The Hornets call Kevin Anderson Field at Bridgeforth Stadium their home field. Although the stadium has been operated by the university since 2020, it is located just off campus in Jim Barnett Park, a city park that also includes several other fields. The same agreement that gave Shenandoah control of this field also gave them control of several others in the park, including Rotary Park next door, which is home to the Hornets' softball team.
After taking control of the stadium, Shenandoah made several renovations including a new turf playing surface, a new scoreboard, and enhancements to the press box and clubhouses. In late 2022, the stadium was renamed from Bridgeforth Field to its current name to honor longtime Hornets coach Kevin Anderson. As of the start of the 2023 season, Anderson is still the Hornets' coach, making him one of the few coaches to lead his team in a stadium that bears his name.
During the summer, the stadium is home to the Winchester Royals, a collegiate summer league team in the Valley Baseball League.
Food & Beverage 2
There is one concession stand at Kevin Anderson Field at Bridgeforth Stadium, operating out of a window behind home plate under the press box. The menu here is pretty limited but at least prices are OK. Popcorn, hot dogs, nachos, and soft pretzels are all $5 (the pretzel comes with free cheese if you want it), while chips and candy are $2. Bottled drinks are $3 while canned drinks are $2. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are all available for $2 on cold days. Both cash and credit cards are accepted at the stand.
There are several sets of bleachers surrounding the field at Kevin Anderson Field at Bridgeforth Stadium. The ones directly behind home plate have backs while the ones on the sides do not. Wherever you sit, you will have a great view of the action. Music plays over the PA system before the game and between batters, although the pregame music is actually just a local radio station, which is apparent by the periodic breaks for DJs to read promos or the station to run advertisements. During the game, there is really not much going on other than the game itself. This is typical for the Division III level. The players and fans do create an excellent energy during games, but we will touch more on that later in the review.
Winchester is a small city located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. There are a number of restaurants located near the stadium, ranging from sports bars to barbecue to homemade ice cream. Since Bridgeforth Field is located near the highway, pretty much everything in Winchester is right there. While Winchester certainly isn’t a bustling city, it does have that small-town charm.
History buffs may also want to visit the many Civil War sites in and around Winchester, which played a major role in the conflict. The city changed hands 72 times during the war and was known as the Shuttlecock of the Confederacy.
Shenandoah averages about 300 fans a game and will regularly draw more for weekend games. While this may not seem like much compared to some Division I schools, they led Division III in total attendance last season and ranked sixth in average attendance. As far as Division III fan bases go, this is one of the best in the country, if not the best. The fans show up early, many of them decked in Hornets gear, and cheer on their team. There is a good mix of friends and family of the players and locals. Even though the stadium is located just off campus, a good number of students make the short walk over here as well. Unfortunately, most students do not have the same level as engagement as the other fans, but at least they show up, which doesn't always happen at schools in this region even at the Division I level. For the most part, the fans are passionate and fervent and help make a Hornets game an exciting experience. While it's not comparable to a crowd at the top Division I schools, for Division III, they are top notch.
The nearest highway to Bridgeforth Field is Interstate 81, and it is easily accessible via Exit 313A. Fans coming from the east or west will need to take State Route 7 or U.S. Route 50 at least part of the way, and while these are not highways, you can usually make good time. Once you get to the stadium, there is parking available in a lot right next to it. If this fills up, there is parking available elsewhere in Jim Barnett Park as well. All parking is free. Keep in mind the rows of the lot closest to the stadium are within foul ball territory. Park there at your own risk.
Restrooms are available next to the concession stand and while there may be a small line at times, especially between games of a doubleheader, you should not have to wait too long. The concession stand can move slowly at times as well.
One thing to keep in mind is that the only way to buy tickets for the game is to use an app called Ticket Spicket and display the ticket on the app as you enter so they can use it to check you in. There is no way to add the ticket to your Apple Wallet as they need to interact with the app, so you'd better hope you have a strong cell signal. Although mobile tickets are pretty standard today and do not hurt this score, these are more difficult to use than most.
Return on Investment 4
Admission to Hornets games is just $6 with youth getting in for $4. SU students and staff get in for free by showing their ID cards. Although many Division III schools have free admission, this is one of the top experience at this level so it is hard to complain about the small price. Concessions are affordable as well, making this a very good value for fans.
Look for the banners on the outfield fence honoring Shenandoah baseball achievements, the plaque behind home plate honoring the Bridgeforth family and their contributions to the stadium, and the whiteboard near the plaque with shows the starting lineups and upcoming Hornets' games. Each of these are worth an individual star.
Although Division III is the lowest level of NCAA baseball, Shenandoah University has managed to put on a top-notch experience at Kevin Anderson Field at Bridgeforth Stadium. While it is certainly not comparable to what you'd see at many Division I stadiums, it is one of the best in the country at this level. The fan base is top-notch, the recently-renovated stadium is gorgeous, at least for this level, and the program has managed to perform on the field in recent years. A trip to Winchester to see a Shenandoah baseball game may be a trek for some, but it is an experience not to be overlooked despite the lower level.