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‘Great place to be’: Bend Elks open season at home with new turf and new management strategy

(Update: adding video, comments from Elks coach)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The fields are prepped, the sun is out and it's time for Bend Elks baseball!

Second-year head coach Joey Wong could not resist coming back for another year.

“I just love this city,” Wong said Friday. “Love the organization and the ball club. Just a great place to be in the summer.”

Wong played at Oregon State from 2007-2009, played for the Elks in 2006 and was drafted by the Colorado Rockies.

He said the consistency in which Elks players come and go from the team is different than when he played, but he’s making adjustments.

“Things have definitely changed from when I was playing here, as far as players coming in and then leaving early or coming late,” Wong said. “So it’s definitely an organization process throughout the summer, so we learned a lot last summer.”

That's not the only change this season for the Elks. Vince Genna Stadium now has an artificial turf infield.

“The benefits are that it's much easier to maintain,” Wong said. “I honestly don't know if there are a whole lot of challenges with a natural surface.”

Wong said the ball might move slower at first, but it will get faster over time, and the hops and bounces are more consistent than a natural dirt and grass field.

Wong said the outdoor and active lifestyle in Bend is great for the baseball environment. 

“I think they bring that same kind of energy and positive vibe to the ballpark, and they come out in numbers for the most part," he said. "So we're looking forward to great support throughout the season and we’re going to do our best to put on a good show.”

There are a ton of great weekly promotions like $2 Tuesdays, Free Kid Wednesdays and Thirsty Thursdays.

You can find Elks info, including the schedule and ticket options, here.

Article Topic Follows: Sports

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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.


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