WESTFIELD, IN – The third annual “College GameDay” softball event will be held at Grand Park on Sunday, September 18, featuring 14 collegiate softball programs. The Opening Ceremony will be held at 10:40 a.m. on D23 with the Purdue vs. Indiana State game immediately following. The ceremony will be include special guest Andie Kalemba to throw the first pitch and Carol Bruggeman, executive director of National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) as featured speaker. The national anthem will be sung by Craig Wood, Purdue alumnus and former owner of the land now occupied by Grand Park.
Andie Kalemba, from Saint John, Indiana, was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Fanconi Anemia at eight months old. Now 13 years old and still battling the disease, Andie was matched with the Valparaiso University softball program through Team Impact, a nonprofit organization that creates team-based support systems for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses. The Valparaiso team officially signed Andie to the softball program in the spring and she has been an active participant at practices and home games ever since. Click here to view a video featuring Andie Kalembe and the Valparaiso softball team.
“We’re excited to host this college softball event in its 3rd year at Grand Park. The opening ceremonies of this year’s event will be especially meaningful with Andie Kalemba throwing the first pitch and bringing attention to the Team Impact organization,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook. “We’re also honored to have Carol Bruggeman as a featured speaker and Westfield resident Craig Wood to sing the national anthem.”
Carol Bruggeman, Executive Director of NFCA, is one of the biggest names in softball. Bruggeman is a longtime NCAA Division I coach at Michigan, Purdue and Louisville, and a well-respected national speaker, clinician, educator and author. During her career, Bruggeman has been a part of over 700 victories, and has had a hand in many conference titles and coached numerous NFCA All-Americans. Bruggeman has also served as the color analyst for ESPN, Big Ten and SEC Network broadcasts.
Craig Wood once farmed the land now occupied by Grand Park and still runs a small farming operation on his remaining land nearby. Craig’s father, Bill Wood, began farming in Westfield in 1941 and Craig joined the family farm after graduating from Purdue with a degree in agriculture in 1978. The Wood family wanted their land to serve a larger purpose so they offered to sell their land to the City of Westfield for the development of Grand Park.
Of the 14 teams attending College GameDay, 10 come from the Division I rank, including Indiana University, Purdue University, Ball State University, Butler University, Miami University (OH), Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indiana State University, University of Evansville, Valparaiso University and Western Kentucky University. These programs represent the following conferences: BIG 10, BIG EAST, MAC, MVC, THE SUMMIT LEAGUE and THE HORIZON LEAGUE. Additionally, the four remaining programs are from the ranks of Division II and NAIA Athletic Divisions. Saint Joseph’s College (Indiana and University of Indianapolis will be representing the Great Lakes Vally Conference (DII). Grace College and Marian University will represent the Crossroads League (NAIA).
Each program will compete in at least one game against another top-notch program. Play will begin at 11 a.m. with batting practice available to the public at roughly 9:30 a.m. Second round games will begin at 1:15 p.m., followed by the third and final round of games beginning at roughly 3:15 p.m. The full schedule can be found at this link.
Admission will be $10 for adults. Youth softball players who wear their softball jerseys and kids under age 12 will be $5. A portion of the College GameDay event proceeds will be donated to Team Impact. Visit www.goteamimpact.org to learn more about Team Impact.
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About Grand Park Sports Campus
Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana, is a destination like no other. The thoughtfully designed 400-acre Grand Park Sports Campus features 26 baseball and softball diamonds, 31 multipurpose fields for soccer, football, and lacrosse. The Grand Park Events Center is now open, featuring three full-sized indoor soccer fields, a restaurant and administrative offices. The Jonathan Byrd’s Fieldhouse indoor basketball/volleyball facility opened in January 2016. Grand Park also features an abundance of green space and more than 10 miles of pedestrian/bicycle trails, including the largest trailhead on the Monon Corridor.
More than 1.5 million sports visitors are expected to participate in or attend tournaments and events at the Grand Park Sports Campus on an annual basis, making the surrounding area a prime location for economic development. The master plan outlines approximately 1,400 acres of land available for residential and commercial development, including hospitality (hotel, restaurant and retail), mixed-use, life science and corporate office uses.
Visit GrandPark.org for more information, follow us on Twitter (@GrandParkSports) and Facebook (Facebook.com/Grand-Park-The-Sports-Campus-at-Westfield) and download the Grand Park app (links below) for the latest updates.