Prospect League: Q Stadium’s a Pile of Rocks, & Two Gems in Fayard & Konetani
Q Stadium is not nicked “The Rock Pile” with any derogatory intentions. It was given the name because during the depression, President Roosevelt’s Federal Works Program put the town of Quincy to work, building what we can today see as a work of art. Utilizing stones laying unwanted on the sides of the road, 200 men began construction of a grand baseball stadium. Back then Minor League teams were simply known as Farm Clubs on account of being mostly from rural American towns were farms dominated the landscape. The Yankees, Mets, Giants, and Cubs began sponsoring teams in Quincy as early as 1946. Players like Whitey Herzog and Hank Bauer learned their legendary skills amongst the Quincy scene and thus launching a piece of baseball heritage into this quaint Illinois town. But, like a lot of underappreciated parts of life that slowly become nothing but old relics, Q Stadium was abandoned in 1973 and it wasn’t until a Central Illinois Collegiate League team called the Rivermen re-inhabited the treasure.
By that time, the Stadiums cracked walls, faulty plumbing, and poor lighting made for a shaky baseball experience, but the Rivermen were destined to make it their home from 1974 to 1987. During that time, in 1984, Quincy College bought the senescent stadium for the lump sum of $1 and invested in refurbishing the entire project for their schools baseball program. Over the years there have been many natural disasters, new ownerships, and new ball clubs, but Q Stadium remains present and bright with baseball games and its adored fans.
TToday, the Quincy Gems of the Prospect League are the residents of the historic landmark, and after finishing in 2 nd place in the 1 st half of summer league play, the Gems are ready to start the 2 nd half with a nuclear force. Vinny Fayard is an outfielder the Gems are very proud of. After 110 at bats, Fayard is hitting .364, with 1 homerun, and 20 RBI’s. In their last series before the All Star break, Fayard went 2 for 5 with 3 RBI’s and a homerun against the Hannibal Cavemen. Fayard’s current success as a Gem is not a fluke. This past spring he was the cleanup hitter at Biola University. He led the team with a .409 batting average, a team leading 76 hits, and 46 runs. Fayard also led the team with 14 homeruns and 53 RBI’s. But, what good are great numbers if you cant cook under pressure? Well, Fayard was not a cold potato when during the conference battles at the end of the season he went 5 for 6 with 3 runs and an RBI against Fresno Pacific. Then at the most crucial moments against The Masters, Fayard went 5 for 9 with 2 runs, 2 RBI’s that included a homerun in a Golden State Athletic Conference double header that ended the season.
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The Gems also feature a young catcher this summer named Zach Konetani. He’s hitting .314 after 56 at bats and has proved to have some pop in his bat with 6 homeruns and 20 RBI’s. Konetani leads the league with a .628 slugging percentage. This past spring with San Diego University, Konetani was one of the strong bats that helped San Diego get to the regional. He hit .351 after 94 at bats, including 6 homeruns and 25 RBI’s. In the Regional against Milwaukee, Konetani had a great game where he went 4 for 7 with 2 RBI’s. At the end, in baseball what’s most important is having fun, winning, and experiencing the vibes of various baseball fields. Traveling across the country, every stadium or baseball field has its own character and a certain flare just floating within the sights of its grass, infield, and overall bleachers. I hope the kids blessed enough to experience Q Stadium never forget what it felt like, and are always appreciative of what it represents in the American consciousness
By Adrian Nevarez
DFN Sports Staff Writer