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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

SMCC Baseball Field - South Mountain Cougars


Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57

SMCC Baseball Field 7050 S 24th St

Phoenix, AZ 85042


Year Opened: 1981 Capacity: 300 (approx)

 

South of Phoenix

South Mountain Community College (SMCC) Baseball Field is a very comfortable place to watch a ball game.  The venue has seating in both the shade and the sun, so sit where you want, depending on your preference.  The music volume is not obtrusive.  The fans are there to watch the game and, more than likely, their son or grandson.

The South Mountain Cougars baseball team is an NJCAA – Arizona Community College Athletics Conference (ACCAC) member (also known as NJCAA Region 1 – D1).  People often refer to NJCAA as JUCO.  The baseball team began play in 1981.  Forty-six players have been drafted by MLB; four have played in the MLB.  The team won the regional championship in 2014.


The conference plays its games with wood bats, so you hear the pleasant sound of a crack of the bat, not a ping.


Food & Beverage 0

The Cougars do not have a concession stand at the ballpark.  Fans can bring in their own snacks and drinks.


Atmosphere 3

The stadium has three sets of bleachers that run from dugout to dugout, with a smaller set just beyond the first base dugout.  A blue tarp covers the set behind home plate for fans wanting shade; the other bleachers are in the sun. 


The bleachers have steps to ascend to the seating; there are no ramps.  The third base set has a handrail up the middle of the seating; the other sets do not.  The bleachers are relatively new, installed in 2003.


If sitting on the first base or third base bleachers, the dugouts block the view of the right and left field corners.  Sit behind home (in the shade) to see the entire game action.


A medium-thickness net runs from dugout to dugout, protecting the fans in the seating area.  A section beyond the third base dugout is net-free, though the only seating there is a few picnic tables. 


The scoreboard is to the left of the batter’s eye and shows the basic line score.  It can be a tad difficult to read with the sun and the netting.   The field does not have lights, so only day games are played here.   The field is a lovely, green Bermuda grass turf.  


The game is not announced so print out rosters beforehand if you want that info.  The music person plays various tunes at an acceptable volume, as well as walkup songs for the Cougars.


Intriguing tall palm trees line behind the right field fence. Fans can enjoy a lovely view of South Mountain Park/Preserve in the distance beyond the first base side.  



It’s genuinely about the baseball game played on the diamond.


Neighborhood 3

The field is amongst the other South Mountain Community College athletic fields (soccer, track, softball, and tennis) in a complex called the Dr. Rául Cárdenas Athletic Complex.


Several fast-food chains like Jack in the Box, Raising Cane’s, Five Guys, and Chick-fil-A are just south of the college.  Nearby restaurants include Pad Thai Kitchen (Thai), Sun Asian Kitchen (Chinese), Applebee’s, and Rubio’s Coastal Grill (Mexican).


For other things to do in the neighborhood, the most prominent is South Mountain Park/Preserve.  The park has several trails (hiking and biking) and panoramic lookout points.  Legoland Discovery Center is five miles east, and the Raven Golf Club is just two miles from the school.  Downtown Phoenix is seven miles north.


Most traditional lodging choices are at the intersection of I-10 and Baseline Rd, about four miles east:  Holiday Inn Express, Ramada, Studio 6, Springhill Suites, etc.  Check VRBO or Airbnb to see if they offer options if/when you plan on visiting.


Other sports in the area include the Angels Spring Training (five miles east), the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Phoenix Suns (both about seven miles from South Mountain Baseball Field).


Fans 2

Cougar fans are mostly family and friends of the players.  You’ll see plenty of parents and grandparents rooting their kin on.  Since several of the ACCAC schools are in the Phoenix metro area, plenty of visiting fans are in attendance, too. 


Access 3

South Mountain Community College is south of Phoenix, AZ, about four miles west of I-10, off Baseline Rd.   It is five miles south of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.


Fans can take Valley Metro Bus Route 70 right to the college. 


If arriving by automobile, two parking areas are available.  Once on campus, turn right after the line of palm trees and then left into a paved parking area.  This lot will have you walking behind the first base dugout to get to the seating area.  Or, you can continue past the line of palm trees and make a right after the softball field, and there will be parking along the roadside near the baseball field. 


Serviceable restrooms are available.  The seating area is not that conducive for fans in wheelchairs as there are no ramps up to the bleachers, and the backstop is quite high for someone in a wheelchair to see over. 


Return on Investment 5

Attending a South Mountain Cougars baseball game is free and worth a visit if you simply enjoy the game of baseball.  There’s no charge for parking and no concessions for sale.   You spend what you bring for snacks and the cost of transportation to the field.  That’s it.

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Extras 2

The outfield wall has a memorial for two student-athletes killed in a van accident in March 1996.  It bears the number 7 above and the number 16 below two crossed baseball bats. 



The team has competed as a D1 JUCO member for the last 22 years. Even though it competes on the D1 level, the athletics program is funded at a D2 level.


Final Thoughts

If you enjoy the game for the game, watching a Cougars game at SMCC Baseball Field is a perfect spring afternoon out just south of Phoenix.

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