Sacred Heart dedicates field after Larry Mixon

By CAMAL PETRO,

This was a no-brainer for Sacred Heart – the 2-year old baseball field at the Sacred Heart Athletic Complex was always going to dubbed after the architect of Sacred Heart baseball.

Friends, family, players, coaches and fans gathered at the field Friday to celebrate the late Larry Mixon, and the school did what many thought was inevitable. Now, when the Crusaders and their opponents take the diamond, they’ll play on Larry Mixon Field.

“He is the leader and architect of this program,” Sacred Heart coach Drew Dewease said. “For us to be able to play here and it be named after him, it’s really, really special. I know the kids feel the same way.

“It’s felt like (Larry Mixon Field) all along.”

While the field was going through its construction process, Mixon spent the majority of his time working and preparing the field. His last addition? An elevated porch down the first base foul line, which is now called “Larry’s Roost.”

The field was Mixon’s baby and it was only a matter of time before it bared his name. One of Mixon’s sons, Eric Mixon, had countless conversations with his father about the field leading up to its completion.

“We talked on the phone about this all the time, because this was all he did,” Eric said. “He worked his route, which was his actual job, and he was here. He spent more time here than he did his actual job, so he’d always talk about the fundraisers he was doing and all of the people helping. He constantly gave me process updates.

“This was his baby. This was everything for him.”

Mixon built Sacred Heart baseball from the dirt up. He led it through a nomadic state, bouncing from field to field, to a program with one of the nicest facilities in Mississippi high school baseball.

“He did what he had to do to make it work for the kids, and that’s what it was really about,” Sacred Heart Athletics Director Brian Kern said. “It was about him just wanting to coach the kids, and he would do whatever it took. Once we got to this point, it was his program.”

During the construction, when Kern needed to find Mixon, he knew where to go.

“I knew if I came out here, he’d be out here,” Kern said. “Not just the baseball field, he helped with the football field and did what he could. He would get off work at 10 in the morning and he’d be out here.”

Nolan Mixon, another son of Larry, played for Sacred Heart and his father in the early days of the program. At the time, Sacred Heart played at Petal’s old high school field, but it still wasn’t the Crusaders’ home like Larry Mixon Field now is to them.

“This (field) is a piece of art, it really is,” Nolan said. “He put everything into this.”

The words “Larry Mixon Field” can be seen on the scoreboard just beyond the left field wall, and Sacred Heart will install a plaque as well. Lamar Christian School also donated a tree to the athletic complex, which is between the hitting facility and the baseball field.

This is the third season played on the new field for the Crusaders.

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