In Santa Maria, diamonds truly are a girl's best friend – but we don't mean the sparkling kind.
Instead, softball players here have been falling in love with the 22-acre Hagerman Sports Complex. Regarded as one of the premier sports facilities on California’s central coast, the complex boasts four top-notch lighted softball diamonds with one designated for championship play.
The Hagerman facility was constructed by the city in the early 1990s for two main reasons. Santa Maria was experiencing a rapid growth spurt in housing, and there was a rising interest in adult softball leagues at that time.
“We were able to use city developer fees to build Hagerman,” says Dennis Smitherman, recreation supervisor with the city of Santa Maria. “In addition to developer fees, the ball players themselves raised $50,000 to 60,000 to help fund the $3.4 million complex.”
The Hagerman site in Santa Maria is geographically situated between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, thereby attracting additional softball players from both of those cities. The complex is located on what had previously been the back side of Waller Park, with fields No. 3 and 4 situated where there used to be a large pond.
“Waller Park is owned by Santa Barbara County, and Santa Maria purchased the Hagerman property from the county in 1995,” Smitherman says. “At that same time when adult softball took off, all of the Santa Maria park fields were being used. The city had 113 teams and only three fields, so the Hagerman space was created to better meet the needs of the softball teams.”
The complex, located across the street from Santa Maria Airport, plays host to spring, summer and fall adult softball leagues, along with several weekend softball tournaments. In addition, the diamonds can be used as multi-use fields for events such as youth baseball games, occasional soccer tournaments and adult kickball leagues. Hagerman is also the annual home of the Special Olympics Regional Games of Santa Barbara & San Luis Obispo County.
Smitherman says the complex is available for rent to host college, high school and youth baseball tournaments and championships. The complex can also be used for special events such as concerts, art shows, exhibits, trade shows, outdoor weddings and receptions. But it is softball that garners most of the attention at Hagerman, with all four diamonds equipped with 300-foot homerun fences. There is parking for up to 200 vehicles, a full-service concession facility with indoor dining, two lighted warm-up fields and a children’s playground.
“Each field is equipped with electronic scoreboards, covered dugouts and foul ball protective netting,” Smitherman says. “It’s a great facility.”