"The players and coaching staff feel that we have the best playing surface in college baseball, as well as one of the finest facilities in the nation," said Carbone.
Ohio has gained a reputation for excellence not only in on-field achievements but also in the area of facilities. This proud tradition carries over to Ohio baseball's "major league" locker facility.
Through the generosity of more than 40 alumni, the dream of a top-of-the-line clubhouse has become a reality. "Thanks to our alumni, who are simply the greatest, we have a first-class, big-league locker facility," Carbone said. "It impresses everyone who sees it and will help us with recruiting."
The fund-raising effort was Carbone's undertaking in conjunction with the Convocation Center's silver anniversary. With limited space in the team's storage room, coupled with the amount of equipment that baseball requires, the facelift including large lockers was a necessity.
"We were able to raise $13,000 and now have the type of lockers we need, plus a video area and a Hall of Fame section," said Carbone. Each locker, the video area and the Hall of Fame section bear plaques honoring the donors.
Carbone and former associate head coach Bill Toadvine kicked off the fundraising drive by purchasing the first two lockers. Toadvine chose "12" - the number worn by his son, Brock, a former Bobcat - and Carbone selected the number "1" that he wore as an Ohio infielder.
The 39 light-oak lockers measure 80" high by 37-1/2" wide by 24" deep and were crafted by Jonas Beiler, a local Amish carpenter who "did a tremendous job," according to Carbone.
As for the Hall of Fame section, Carbone said, "We wanted a special area to honor those who have brought distinction to our program."
Without a doubt, the first-class Ohio locker facility brings distinction to the Bobcat program.
"The Ohio baseball locker room is one of the best I've seen," said former Bobcat Jeff Rook. "It is a place where the team can unite. It provides a common bonding ground for the players and it helps prepare them to reach their goals on the playing field."
Thanks to a very successful fundraising campaign spearheaded by community leader John Wharton and Carbone, Ohio played under the lights for the first time in 2004. With the transition to night games such a success, the Bobcats played 15 of their 28 home games under the lights in the 2005 season.