Carthage opens first-class softball stadium
Carthage has officially opened its new, first-class varsity softball facility, holding a ceremony to dedicate the newly named Wiers Family Stadium and Barbara Madrigrano Field.
President John Swallow declared the Firebirds’ home venue open for play on Sept. 29, almost two years to the date after the college embarked on a broad-based fundraising effort. The dramatic upgrades raise the softball stadium to match the championship caliber of all other facilities in Carthage’s NCAA Division III athletic program.
“Today marks a great day, as we honor the Madrigrano and Wiers families,” President Swallow said. “The spirit of Carthage Athletics lives on through those whose gifts enable us to match excellent students with excellent facilities.”
The starter funding included major commitments of $1 million from the institution and $250,000 from Glenn Sr. and Barbara Madrigrano. Responding to the call, other donors pitched in an additional $519,000 — led by a $300,000 gift from David C. Wiers ’98 and his family.
“This stadium represents a shared belief that sports are a powerful tool for education, teaching important life skills such as leadership, perseverance, and teamwork,” said Mr. Wiers, who serves on the Carthage Board of Trustees. “It stands as a testament to the power of sports to unite our community, instill values, and create lasting memories.”
As founder and president of Satori Energy, Mr. Wiers has delivered innovative solutions in the energy industry for more than 20 years. Headquartered in Chicago, his company acquired 14 other energy companies before merging into Texas-based Priority Power Management in 2021. He has continued to oversee Satori and its affiliated brands.
Mr. Wiers, who competed in basketball for Carthage, has given extensively to the college and its athletic endowment. In his honor, the Firebirds annually present the David Wiers Captain’s Award to a men’s basketball player.
As a third-generation leader of C.J.W. Inc., Glenn Madrigrano Sr. significantly raised the profile of the family beer distributorship. He passed away in 2022, and the naming of Barbara Madrigrano Field fulfills his wish for a lasting testament to his wife.
Their generosity extends a family tradition of giving to Carthage. At the opposite end of campus from the field, Madrigrano Family Residence Hall is named in honor of Mr. Madrigrano’s parents, Joseph and Shirley, who were also longtime supporters of the college.
Glenn and Barbara Madrigrano have given toward almost every sport at Carthage. They previously established an endowment fund for the baseball team, and an annual award is presented in their name to the player who most inspires his teammates.
Their daughter Mia Hughes spoke at the dedication.
“We hope that this beautiful facility will attract the attention of all who pass by on Sheridan Road,” she said, “and that many future generations of young women will envision themselves as Firebirds playing softball here and see Mom’s name as they’re running to first base.”
Other speakers included Carthage’s director of athletics, Ryan Kane; head softball coach Amy Gillmore ’94; Krystina Leazer ’14, a 2023 inductee into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame; and junior infielder Sarah Bennett. The Firebirds have begun fall workouts in preparation for the spring 2024 schedule — the 27th season for Coach Gillmore.
The renovations have greatly improved the on-field experience, making Carthage eligible to host postseason softball tournaments. Crews installed synthetic turf, enabling the team to practice and play reliably when weather conditions fluctuate. The new stadium also features bullpens and batting cages, along with upgrades to the dugouts and scoreboard.
Fundraising continues for other potential amenities, such as additional seating, a press box, and a concession stand.