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Inside the Runyon Field Sports Complex Part V

Pusedu Field hosted the Black Sox and Hit & Run teams on June 23, 2018 in the 8-under division at the Runyon Sports Complex (Zachary Allen, The Pueblo Chieftain)


Pusedu Field was the last field built at the complex to serve the little guys, gals

This is the fifth of a six-part series taking an in-depth look at the six fields at the Runyon Field Sports Complex. Chieftain sports writer Austin White will be providing a history of each field as well as how it was named and what events take place on each of the six fields at the complex during the year.

BY AUSTIN WHITE | The Pueblo Chieftain | JUL 21, 2018

No professional athlete has ever been born into a sport. They had to grow up and discover their passion for their craft and see if their love for the game outweighed the demanding tasks of the sport becoming their full-time job.

All of these athletic dreams had to start somewhere and for baseball and softball players in Pueblo, that fantasy is not stuck in the clouds of a dream. The Runyon Sports Complex is a place for them to uncover their passion for the game.

Maybe the jumping off point for any child in Pueblo has become Ray Pusedu Field at Runyon. It is where youngsters mold their craft playing 8-and-under baseball/softball and also 10-and-under softball.

"That was kind of my dream field," Runyon general manager Dave Dudley said. "That piece of land was just sitting there not being used so we were able to take advantage of it and it's been a good thing. … I love that little field."

Carving out the space between Hobbs and Andenucio fields wasn't always an easy task. Part of what led up to having the spot was clearing out some old benches from when Hobbs hosted minor league baseball.

One man who was at the forefront of making changes to Runyon, not only in the office, but to the actual physical complex, was Ray Pusedu.

Dudley described how Pusedu helped move out those bleachers and contributed to several projects during his tenure on the Runyon Field board.

"He had a lot of muscle to get some things done down here," Dudley said. "He did a lot of good down here, thus that's kind of why the field was named for him."

Pusedu had been around Runyon since before the place even became a complex. He started helping out when Hobbs was the only field there and Andenucio and Corsentino fields were parking lots.

Receiving the honor of having the field named after him was something Pusedu didn't want to take credit for. He deflected all praise to his fellow former board members and also spoke highly of the work being done now by Dudley and his crew.

As described in the Andenucio Field story a few weeks ago, Pusedu donated his time to helping create those two new fields. Whether it was mowing the grass with his own tractor or picking up rocks for three weeks, Pusedu wanted to help create something Pueblo could be proud of.

"When I go down there I'm amazed because when we were down there it was one field," Pusedu said. "That complex is as good as any in the country for kids."

The entrance gate to Pusedu Field welcomes parents and players nearly every day of the week (CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/ZACHARY ALLEN)Certainly the people of Pueblo have fallen in love with Runyon, which now has six fields. Pusedu Field was completed in 2012.

Almost every home high school baseball and softball game is held at the complex and summer tournaments bring in teams from across the nation.

Speaking of tournaments, Pusedu helps sponsor a tournament at his field held over Memorial Day weekend at Runyon every year. He gave money to the complex to help buy rings for the championship team, a glove for the best fielder and a bat for one of the top hitters.

"You can hear (people at Pusedu Field) hollering blocks and blocks away from excitement," Dudley said about the tournament. "It's pretty cool for the little guys. It makes you want to be little."

Added Pusedu: "My next door neighbor played (in the tournament) and his team won the tournament. He came running and jumped over my fence in the back yard and came running to show me his ring. They really think that's something."

As for the field, it is all turf, complementing the idea of teaching young players the right fundamentals. Dudley believes in the theory where players learn good habits due to bad hops, so a turf field is the perfect way to give the players good practice.

With the fence sitting at 125 feet in left and center fields and 120 feet in right field, the lofty goal of a hitting a home run is still very much in reach for the youngsters.

The shorter porch in right field was due to a road running behind the field, forcing a little bit shorter distance. Dudley said he and the builders threw around the idea of turning the right field fence into a "Green Monster," like Boston's famed wall, but the added costs of engineering a taller fence didn't make sense.

The field is a very unique place for the young players and it is cozy for teams coming from out of town to play in tournaments.

"That (Ray Pusedu Field) was kind of my dream field. That piece of landwas just sitting there not being used so we were able to take advantage of it and its been a great thing...I love that little field."

Dudley said they usually open the field for teams to take infield work during the busy tournament times. That allows teams an opportunity to take grounders or fly balls in a small space.

Fly balls are something fans need to be aware of at Pusedu Feld, however. Similarly to Corsentino Field, the bleachers are not around home plate like a normal field. Instead, they are placed in the outfield and down the foul lines.

Not only does it help with the philosophy of giving space for coaches to coach, but it is also necessary to avoid fans getting hit by foul balls from Hobbs or Andenucio fields. Dudley said they have to remind people quite a bit and it has become somewhat of a point of contention at times.

No matter what goes on outside of the fence, the mission is to give kids a place to play a game and inspire dreams.

"I think the people of Pueblo can be proud of (Runyon)," Pusedu said. "And it keeps a bunch of kids off the street and stuff. Instead of hanging out on the corner getting in trouble, they are down at Runyon staying out of it."


The Ray Pusedu Field scoreboard shines brightly in left-center field (CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/ZACHARY ALLEN)

Members of the Crush 8-under baseball team sit in the dugout and watch the action on Pusedo Field on June 23 (CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/ZACHARY ALLEN)