Valley Softball Complex reduced to rubble, but memories remainFeb 23, 2022 07:39PM ● By Greg James
Trucks and other heavy equipment line up to haul off the remains of the Valley Softball Complex. (Greg James/City Journals)
The Valley Regional Softball Complex is being destroyed and in its place, a new and improved facility will rise into existence. Memories of the games and experiences will soon be replaced with new and better ones.
“I sprained my ankle sliding into third base,” Taylorsville resident Greg Roberts said. “I also broke my toe trying to catch a line drive. Heck, we played for real back then.”
Valley has hosted week-day leagues and many tournaments since its construction in the late 1970s. The complex’s dilapidated fields and stadium seating will be reconstructed because of a donation of $5 million by the Larry H. Miller foundation.
The county completed the renovation of the Cottonwood Complex before last summer and has now begun the project in Taylorsville. The design and construction will mirror the already completed facility.
Miller was a softball fanatic and a very accomplished player and team owner. He is a member of the Utah Softball Hall of Fame and the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame.
He pitched in more than 1,000 games and had 819 fastpitch softball victories. In 1989 his Miller Toyota fastpitch team finished third at the ISC softball world championships. The team was consistently highly ranked. He also sponsored youth teams in an effort to grow the game in Utah.
The surrounding park was renamed for Gary C. Swenson in 2015. He helped the county purchase the property where the fields and park now stand.
Valley, as it is affectionately called, has hosted several tournaments including the Pioneer Days and UHSAA state championships.
“My senior year (at Taylorsville High School) we won the 5A softball state championship,” Brooke Mckeever said. “The championship game was fun, but the semi-finals was one of the funnest I have ever played in. I think we were down 10-4 going into the seventh against Bingham. Somehow we scored like 12 runs with two outs and ended up winning the game. It was insane.”
Taylorsville won the softball state championship in 2007 when Mckeever was a member of the team. They also won in 1997.
“The whole tournament was so much fun. It was like having a home-field advantage. The entire stands and behind the outfield fence were filled with fellow students cheering us on,” she said.
That season the Warriors won five straight games in the tournament to capture the title.
The construction will feature the same amount of fields, new bleachers with shelter, and press boxes. The project is scheduled to last about a year.
The pandemic halted all play on the fields until late July in 2021, a 15-month absence. The county held an accelerated girls tournament then and another in September before opening fall league play.
“Larry was passionate about softball,” Miller's widow Gail said in a statement. “These complexes will forever be part of our family's legacy. He not only enjoyed the competition, but he also enjoyed the social aspect of the game. This will be a great tribute to Larry, our family, and the game of softball.”
The softball complex will be rebuilt but the surrounding park and frisbee golf course will remain the same. The park is also the host of Taylorsville City’s Fourth of July celebration, Taylorsville Dayzz.