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Winterholter Field – Taylor University Trojans


Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

Winterhoter Field Vayhinger Cir. Upland, IN 46989


Year Opened: 2012 Capacity: 500

 

A Pleasant Ballpark at Taylor University


Taylor University is a private, evangelical Christian university in Upland, Indiana. It was founded in 1846 and is one of the oldest evangelical Christian universities in the country. It was named after Bishop William Taylor and located on 950 acres. There are 1,910 undergraduate students on campus, and the school is about halfway between the cities of Ft. Wayne and Indianapolis.


The ball club plays at Winterholter Field which has seen a beautiful transformation since the installation of artificial turf in 2012, the first of any NAIA school in the state. The ballpark received sunken dugouts, a new backstop with netting, and a new scoreboard. Three-years-later lights were added, and two years after that, a new press box was constructed. The renovations made it possible for the school to host the NAIA National Championship Opening Round for the first time in 2018.


The Taylor Trojans baseball program participates in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and is a member of the Crossroads League with nearby Huntington and Marian Universities. The Trojans joined the league for the 1994-1995 academic school year and have captured six championships, including four in a row from 2010-to 2013. The team has also made six NAIA Tournament appearances.


The ballpark was dedicated in 2012 in honor of former coach Larry Winterholter and his wife Lynne. Larry guided the program for 22 years and served as a faculty member for 30 years at the university. He was a four-time All-Conference pitcher at Taylor during his playing days and lettered in both baseball and basketball. In 1961, he picked up win in both games of a doubleheader. He retired from coaching in 2000. A plaque in front of the stadiums honors the couple and their commitments to the school.


Food & Beverage 1

There is a concession window at the bottom of the press box, but it is only serving drinks and candy. The usual spot for concession items is in the nearby lobby of the Odle Arena, but due to construction that building is off-limits to fans. Water and Gatorade were the drinks of choice, and both would be ideal to quench your thirst on the 83-degree day of our visit, but a hot dog, a bag of peanuts, and nachos would have hit the spot.


Atmosphere 4

First, the photos on the university’s website do not do the ballpark justice. The stadium is quite charming and well constructed. It was a perfect day for baseball, and it appeared that most people agreed and packed the grandstands and foul lines for the first game of the doubleheader. The stadium features a synthetic infield and natural grass outfield with views of campus structures and the city’s water tower in the distance.


The synthetic turf looks great and is needed for the rainy months of March and April. The campus buildings and water tower add a nice romance to the stadium. Fans gather down both lines to set up chairs to watch the games, while a few more stand behind the open outfield fencing to get a glimpse of the game.


The grandstand seating is also impressive, with chair backs on all seats, including armrests on chairs directly behind home plate. The fans are into the game, with students making their share of chants and cheers; parents yell for their sons to get a hit or drive in a run. Players in both dugouts fill the air with baseball banter.


The stadium is very clean and almost spotless. The grounds are kept up nicely, and a plaque is located outside the stadium honoring the ballpark’s namesake. The only negatives might have been the lack of proper food at the concession stand and the scoreboard that was hard to read from the grandstand. However, these were just a few complaints about an otherwise picturesque stadium for college baseball.


Neighborhood 2

The campus is vibrant, with students out and about on the lawn, playing tennis, shooting hoops at the basketball course, and watching the softball game at their ballpark. The campus is well taken care of, clean, and easy to get around, but that was not the case for the town of Upland, which had very few options to choose from for food and drink.


Ivanhoes is the place to be in town, with long lines for ice cream and food. The local institution serves 100 different flavors of sundaes and milkshakes that attract crowds from the area. The food options include sandwiches, burgers, chicken tenders, nachos, and salads. If you are with the family, an ideal place for the kids.

The Bridge Cafe is a coffee shop that offers sandwiches, breakfast, and an item they call South African pizza. Off the Gas City exit to the interstate are a collection of national chains that include Cracker Barrel, Taco Bell, Dairy Queen, and Burger Queen. Payne’s is a local restaurant that specializes in British fare of bangers and mash, beef stew with Yorkshire pudding, and fish and chips.


Fans 3

The fans made their voices felt during the game, and there were even a few students adding their touch of ambiance to the game. The sound of a vuvuzela was heard whenever the Trojans scored a run – they won 11-1. There was another group of fans dancing during certain walk-up songs and shouted a few words when certain players came up to bat. The rest of the crowd was made up of parents and family members and packed the seats in the grandstands and down the first baseline.


Access 4

The ballpark seating probably holds no more than 500 people and ramps lead to the seating bowl. The parking lot is in front of the stadium and is easy to find on campus. There are two areas for fans that are in wheelchairs in the back of home plate, and fans can check out the game through the open fences from behind the outfield.


Return on Investment 3

Admission is free of charge, and if you’re thirsty a bottle of water is no more than $2. It is suggested to bring your food before the game, as most people did during our visit. The ballpark is clean, set up well, and quite impressive for an NAIA school. It makes for a nice trip for a ballgame when the weather is warm during the unpredictable month of April in Indiana.


Extras 3

Winterholter Field is immaculate clean, without a spec of dirt or debris found throughout the grandstand. The synthetic turf looks pristine and needed for the rainy months of March and April. All of the seats and backs to them, including armrests for the main grandstand seating. Another nice feature was the outfield fences that allow fans to see through during the game.


Final Thoughts

Winterholter Field is one of those hidden gems of a ballpark in the state of Indiana. It covers almost all of the basics with stadium features and is ideal for a warm spring afternoon of baseball. There is a dedicated fanbase, comfortable seating, and easy access. What else would you need at the ballpark? Perhaps a hot dog, but Taylor baseball is worth a drive if nearby.



Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on YouTube @ballparkhunter, Twitter @ballparkhunter, and Instagram.

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