Emma Lewandowski added some color to the walls of the field to give it a new look.
| 2:00 p.m. January 15, 2020
West Orange Times & Observer
A fresh coat of paint has added some new life to the West Orange High baseball field.
The once-blank walls of the baseball field have been adorned with a new mural to add a splash of color to the space. Orange lettering that spells out “West Orange Warriors” now fills some space on the walls of the field, and the Warriors insignia also has been added. The new touches of color were designed and painted by West Orange alumna Emma Lewandowski, with the help of a few volunteers.
“Since I took over, I’ve been wanting to refurbish the baseball park,” head baseball coach Jay Welsh said. “The field was very bland … and I wanted to kind of upgrade it to make it look more like a minor league or a small college field. We’ve always had this big blue wall of nothingness behind home plate, and I always pictured having ‘West Orange Warriors’ on the back just to kind of bring it to life.”
Welsh initially reached out to the school’s art department to see it any art students wanted to paint the walls of the field. He then reached out to his own players to see if they knew someone who would take on the project. One of those players was Emma’s younger brother, Ethan, a senior on the varsity team. Ethan said the project would be something his sister would enjoy, and Welsh got in contact with her soon after.
“I got into contact with her, and she was right on it from the get-go,” Welsh said. “I knew right then and there that this was the right person for the job. … She came in, and she had a vision for it.”
Emma Lewandowski, who graduated from WOHS last year, is now a student at Florida Gulf Coast University majoring in marketing and management with a minor in art history. She painted the mural while home for winter break. The project took her about a week to complete.
“They asked me if I would possibly be able to come and do some kind of mural on the walls to try and bring some life over there and make it look pretty,” she said. “I got in contact with the coach … and he had some ideas. He wanted to do block letters, so then I came up with some fonts for him and he went out and got the paint. ... We started off with a projector and projected all of the letters (on the wall) and then traced it on there at night. Then, we came back over it with paint.”
Although she didn’t play any sports at West Orange, Emma Lewandowski always was a big fan of the school’s baseball team. She even started the Diamond Girls Club, an organization that supports the school’s baseball team.
“We (Diamond Girls Club) did the senior nights, (and) we created banners and posters for the high school baseball team,” she said. “That really helped me stay in touch with the boys and support them in that way.”
Emma Lewandowski considers the WOHS baseball field a piece of home. In addition to the times she spent at the field while at WOHS, she practically grew up on it. Her brother has been training and playing games at that field for years.
“I always loved it — I had lots of friends (who) played baseball,” she said. “When I did the Diamond Girls (Club), a lot of my friends who were girls would come over and they got involved as well, so a little piece of me belongs there. I was really excited to get to clean it up a little bit.”