Revamping Charipar and Erusha fields

Elyse Winter

Change is something that greatly impacts the past just as much as the present and future. For Bob Erusha and Ken Charipar, their legacies live on through Erusha Softball Field and Charipar Baseball Field, making it important to understand the impact the renovations taking place at Xavier High School in the spring and summer of 2021 will have. 

The renovations occurring, coming to light due to storm damages from the derecho in August of 2020, will bring about many major changes. A few of these changes include a drastic drop in rainouts and maintenance time, an increase in seating by about 50 percent and the addition of a three foot facade behind home plate. Along with these, the baseball field will receive new sunken dugouts. While most training for the baseball and softball programs will take place off campus at Mount Mercy’s new athletic complex this summer, President Chris McCarville expressed what this project will bring about.

“When this project is complete, we will have the nicest high school baseball and softball fields in the city. I think all within the Xavier community will feel an even deeper sense of Xavier pride when they see the finished product for the first time,” McCarville said. 

Not only will the Xavier community feel pride, but so will the Charipar family, with this baseball field being a staple in their lives as Ken Charipar Jr., son of Ken Charipar Sr., explains. 

“My sister and brother-in-law wanted to honor him [Ken Charipar Sr.] and all the years that he had coached the American Legion Baseball team in Cedar Rapids and at The University of Iowa,” Charipar said. 

Charipar explains how this field has impacted many in the family. Along with the field being named after his father, he said how his two sons, Bryce (X16) and Brant (X18), have played on the field along with his daughter, Briona (X21), playing softball for the Saints as well as four of his nephews, Nate Woods (X07), Zach Schulte (X08), Corbin Woods (X13) and Kyle Rodenkirk (Jefferson High School ‘02). Rodenkirk has also coached on the field multiple times, currently coaching for Linn Mar High School.

As the benefits of the renovations are seen through the lives impacted, Charipar comments on how his late father would have felt.

“My father loved the game of baseball and loved kids. He always enjoyed coaching them and teaching them the values of life. He was also a big supporter of Catholic education, so this baseball field at Xavier was the best of both worlds for him. I know that he will be looking down from Heaven, smiling from ear to ear with pride at the field that bears his name,” Charipar said.  

Right next door is the Erusha Softball Field, named after Robert [Bob] Erusha to honor the shared support both Bob and his wife, Arlene, had for softball. Bruce Erusha, son of Bob, who has attended many games supporting the passion his parents had for the game, explains how he feels the renovations can bring a spotlight on future Xavier players.

“Players at Xavier will realize their importance and contribution to their school, the value the Xavier supporters believe each of them make and they will carry forward the need to share the gifts God has given them,” Erusha said. 

Through prayers and knowledge of both his mother, Arlene, and father, Bob, Bruce knows how his parents would feel about the upcoming renovations.

“Both of them are smiling in Heaven watching Xavier improve and are smiling about the renovation. They are excited and supportive,” Erusha said. 

In the next few months as the fields undergo renovations, future generations will have home fields they can claim with pride that have shaped so many individuals prior and the Charipar and Erusha legacies will live on.