Saturday in Rockland was a brilliant day. Not only did the shining sun lighten the landscape, but it also heralded a bright future for young Midcoast athletes.

About 200 people, including more than 100 children, gathered at the George C. Hall Field on Pleasant Street Saturday morning to celebrate its opening. After six years of promise and looking to the future, young softball athletes from Rockland, South Thomaston and Owls Head finally were able to play at their new facility.

“It’s really cool,” said Krisandra McNichol, 12, who plays for Kenniston Machine. “It’s awesome because we have always been playing on a separate field from the boys and now we have a brand new field and we have got a concession stand and everyone is going to be all together now.”

Rockland Little League softball players traditionally have played regular-season and playoff games at the Jaycee Park on Old County Road. Now the city’s youth organization’s baseball and softball fields will be side by side. E. Allen Gordon Field, the front field or adjacent field, is home to the Rockland Little League baseball players.

The grand opening of the George C. Hall Field began at 9:45 a.m. with speeches, a singing of the national anthem, and a first pitch. Marion Hall, George Hall’s widow, threw the first pitch to Sydney Hall, George C. Hall’s great granddaughter, to christen the field. Sydney is a player on the George C. Hall team in the league.

“The field is just beautiful,” said Rockland Little League board member Rich Mazurek. “With the addition of the field to our current location this will make the Gordon complex one of the finest in the state of Maine.”

The young girls who played on the field echoed Mazurek’s feelings. Some were excited about having their own field, some liked being able to play alongside the boys and some simply liked having a fence.

Ari Curtis, 13, who plays for McDonald’s, said the new field was a tremendous improvement from the league’s previous one.

“I’m really excited about the fence because I have a target to get it over instead of just having to eyeball it and not being able to tell if I should go or not,” she said.

McNichol agreed. “We have a fence now so its something to aim for instead of the just woods or cars,” she said. She added that the new field has better dugouts and other such facilities, as well.

After six years of planning, including two for the production, the field is complete. Overall, including volunteer time, the field has taken more than $100,000 to construct, Mazurek said.

The softball players certainly enjoy having their own field.

Abbey Lacasse, 13, of McDonald’s, said the new field was a significant improvement from the older one and she likes calling this one her own.

“We normally don’t get a lot of new things, mostly the boys get it, this is like having our own field,” Lacasse said.

Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes, 10, of the Vinalhaven Islanders, said she was excited to be able to not only play alongside the boys and their field but to do it in on her own field.

“It’s really fun and exciting to know that we have a field for just the softball stuff, for girls,” she said.

Coming together is important for the girls too.

“I have a lot of friends on the boys teams and I never used to be able to see them because we were up on the other field [on the other side of the city], but now we can play [alongside] each other,” Lacasse said.

“Everybody will be able to come together,” said McNichol. “It won’t be just some people will come to this field, others will go to Old County [Road]. Now, everybody can see both games in the same facilities.“

The field is named after George Hall, whose company has made a considerable donation to the Rockland Little League and the new field. George Hall also was a longtime supporter of Rockland youth athletics. George C. Hall and Sons Inc. is a local business which started in 1949.

“It’s an honor for a man that did a lot for the youth of the community,” said Sam Hall, grandson of George Hall and one of the company’s managers. “He donated his time and materials for numerous fields and I guess this is the culmination of the credit that he deserves.”

In large part, the project would not have been completed without the community support it received, Mazurek said.

“The building of this field has been a true community effort,” Mazurek said.

In return, the field will give back to the area and people that built it.

“Having everything at one location is just going to build such an atmosphere,” Mazurek said. “It truly will be a great place to just come to and spend a night watching kids play.”

Mazurek said having the baseball and softball fields together will allow more games to be played and free up the Jaycee Park, and lower Kenniston Field, on Old County Road for younger players.

Since the Little League teams will not be using the Old Country Road facilities, the younger players will have more time at Jaycee Park. Mazurek said that would, in turn, prepare them more for Little League.

After the opening ceremonies Saturday morning, all five softball teams in the league played on the field. There are six baseball teams and five Major League softball squads in the Rockland Little League, as well as Minor League and t-ball squads.

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at fritz@villagesoup.com.