- 1201 W. Florida Avenue
- Urbana, IL 61801
Nothing like getting up early on a Sunday morning to drive in blizzard like conditions to a softball game. That was how my day started.
After getting rained out Saturday at Illinois Field, I made the trek back to Champaign/Urbana from my parents house for a softball game between the University of Illinois and Michigan State University. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t want to cooperate.
The University of Illinois softball team plays their home games at Eichelberger Field in Urbana. It’s actually just a few hundred yards from the men’s field, but the city limits for the two towns lie just outside the center field wall at Illinois Field. Even though the street addresses are different, they’re on the same street.
Eichelberger Field is built a lot like Illinois Field. They don’t have the Field Turf. Instead, there’s a more traditional dirt infield with a natural grass outfield. When we pulled up at 8:00 am, the field was covered with a tarp that was covered in snow. We pretty much figured there would be no game, but were told a decision wouldn’t be made until at least noon, so we unloaded the truck and began setting up like it was going to be a normal day.
The bleachers are built into the hillside that surrounds Eichelberger Field. There’s seating for 1500 in the metal bleachers. There are some areas where you could sit in the grass, but the hill is actually pretty steep. You enter the facility at the top of the hill and have to walk down to the seats. There’s a large press box and concession stand on the concourse area.
After getting all of our gear set up, we took an hour for lunch. When we got back, the two coaches had a little pow-wow and decided the outfield natural grass area was too dangerous to play. It was the right call, but I was looking forward to seeing a game. I’ve covered some college softball in the past, but never at Illinois. They’ve got a beautiful stadium that I’m hoping to see again one day.