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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

Rotary Field - Shenandoah Hornets


Photos by Gregory Koch Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71

Rotary Field 1001 E Cork Street Winchester, VA 22601

Year Opened: 1979 Capacity: 500

 

Oh, Shenandoah!

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' softball team plays its home games at Rotary Field, located in Jim Barnett Park. Before the 2022 season, SU played at another field in the park, Henkel-Harris Field. However, the university backed major renovations to Rotary Field, Briddgeforth Stadium (home of Hornets' baseball), and two other fields in the park and moved into their current home.


Food & Beverage 0

There is no food or drink for sale at Rotary Field. A concession stand is located in a structure beyond the outfield fence to the left of the baseball stadium, but it was not open when we visited. The concession stand in Bridgeforth Stadium may be open if there is another event going on, but likely will not be accessible unless you have a ticket to that game. Fans are permitted to bring their food and drink, except alcohol.


Atmosphere 3

There are two small sets of metal bleachers at Rotary Field, one down each foul line between home plate and the dugout. Many fans also bring their chairs and sit along the backstop. Wherever you sit, you will be close to the action. However, there isn't a lot going on here besides the action on the field. Music is played between innings, but that is about it. As at most Division III venues, this is a place to watch a game but not much else.




Neighborhood 3

Winchester is a small city located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. There are several restaurants located near the stadium, ranging from sports bars to barbecues 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.


Fans 4

Shenandoah draws a couple hundred fans a game, which is above average for Division III. Most of them are friends or family of the players, although others have some connection to the university as well. Whatever brings them out, they are knowledgeable about the team and the players and most of them are regulars. That is not to say newcomers will be made to feel unwelcome, however.


As the ODAC consists mainly of teams within Virginia, there will often be a good number of visiting fans as well. Fans of the away team tend to sit in the first base bleachers and fans of the Hornets on the third base side, as that is where the teams' dugouts are.


Access 4

The nearest highway to Rotary 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 in a structure next to the baseball stadium, and while there may be a small line at times, especially between games of a doubleheader, you should not have to wait too long.



Return on Investment 4

According to the Shenandoah website, admission to Hornets games is just $6 with youth getting in for $4, and tickets must be purchased in advance through the Ticket Spicket app. However, when Stadium Journey visited, tickets were not for sale in the app and nobody was selling nor checking the tickets of people who came in, so admission was free. It is not clear if this is always the case. Regardless, the cost of a ticket certainly won't break the bank.

Extras 1

As the Hornets' baseball stadium is right across the parking lot, you have a chance to see two different teams in two different sports in one trip if you time your visit right.


Final Thoughts

Although Division III is the lowest level of NCAA softball, Rotary Field is one of the nicer parks at this level. It is recently renovated and the Hornets have a core fan base that shows up for just about every game. Sports fans passing through Winchester will want to stop by Rotary Field for some softball if the Hornets are at home.



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