Steve Norris, a high school teacher and baseball coach from the Cleveland area, had no idea he would be spending part of his Christmas break at Sarge Frye Field.
But there he was Wednesday, picking up home plate, the pitcher's mound and other baseball items he won in an online auction through the South Carolina Surplus Property office.
Norris, his brother-in-law and an English teacher at Willoughby South High School were collecting several thousand dollars' worth of baseball equipment for which they paid $1,100.
"I guess their garbage is great stuff for us," said Norris, who found out about the auction through a friend of one of his assistant coaches.
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It was a stretch for the school's budget, but Norris took home two stationary batting cages that used to sit along the right-field line at the Sarge, a portable batting cage, two dugout benches, a flagpole, both foul poles, home plate, the pitcher's mound and as much of the outfield fence as they could take.
"We could spend only so much," Norris said. "Eighty percent of our funding goes to uniforms, so to get this much stuff for this price is a huge boost for our program."
A semi-truck was donated to haul the equipment back to Ohio.
The items came available after South Carolina moved into its new ballpark along the Congaree River at the start of the 2009 season. Crews are set to demolish Sarge Frye Field in late February or early March in an ongoing transformation of the Roost area into an athletics village modeled after the Horseshoe.
The $13 million Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center is scheduled to open next month when students return for the spring semester. A parking garage is expected to be constructed nearby starting at the end of March.
Randy Wise, manager of Consolidated Service at USC, said more items are going to be sold through the South Carolina Surplus Property office. The next items to be auctioned will be the outfield signs, which have been removed.
The signs will be autographed by baseball coach Ray Tanner and are available for viewing at the Surplus office on Boston Avenue in West Columbia. Bidding should take place sometime in January, according to Wise.