Salina Baseball Enterprises celebrates inaugural game on Pestinger Family Field

The 2024 Kansas Grand Slam kicked off on Thursday in Salina, but this year Salina Baseball Enterprises will have a second field to play the American Legion Tournament.

Pestinger Family Field was officially opened Thursday night, as two Salina Baseball teams matched up in the inaugural game.

The Salina Spikes and the Salina Falcons lined up on home plate, posing for pictures with Tom Pestinger and his family prior to the start of the game, and the ceremonial first pitch thrown out by Tom Pestinger, for whom the new yard is named.

Tom Pestinger (second from left) and family pose on the mound at new Pestinger Family Field in Salina prior to the inaugural game.

Pestinger served on the Salina Baseball Enterprises Board for nearly 20 years, playing a vital role in the development of baseball in the Salina community.

“You know, Kenny Hancock, Byron Tomlins, Larry Britegam, all Salina Baseball board members, they’re all a part of this,” said Pestinger prior to the first game. “And one thing about Salina Baseball, and I was on the board for I think 20 years, one thing about Salina Baseball is we just keep pushing for better baseball in Salina, and you know, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

The inaugural game on the newly-minted turf just north of Salina’s Dean Evans Stadium at the Berkley Family Recreation Area saw its first ever hit in the top of the second inning, as the Spikes’ Ty Heitschmidt singled into right center field. The Spikes would go on to score the first runs, and tally the first win on Pestinger Family Field, winning 7-0 over the Falcons.

The Salina Spikes pose at home plate prior to the first game at Pestinger Family Field in Salina.

The Salina Falcons pose at home plate before the first game at Pestinger Family Field in Salina.

“I mean, it’s heartfelt,” said Pestinger. “Baseball is a big family here in Salina, Kansas and I am so honored for this to be happening.”

Now, the field will play host to several games over the course of this weekend and the Kansas Grand Slam and for Tom Pestinger’s grand children, and children all across both Salina, and Kansas, for years into the future, and he is quite proud of that.

“The Lord blessed me with nine grandchildren, and there’s nothing better in life than that,” he said. “And you know what, I think they’ll all be baseball players, so that’s better yet.”

Tom Pestinger addresses the large crowd at Pestinger Family Field in Salina, prior to the first game on the new field, accompanied by eight of his nine grandchildren.