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Plant Sees The Light After Alum Donation

Tampa Tribune

Tampa- Plant High School’s ball fields finally will get a new lighting system, thanks to a big donation from an alumnus.

When poor lighting caused five high school baseball players to suffer injuries on Plant High’s baseball field last year, parents and alumni decided they’d had enough.

It didn’t take long for Steve Yerrid, prominent civil litigation attorney and 1967 Plant graduate, to get the news. He presented the boys’ baseball team with a check for $50,000 Tuesday morning.

“These guys right here are the future,” Yerrid said. “I’m really proud of them, and it’s wonderful to help them out.”

The donation will be used to construct a new, code-compliant lighting system that will benefit both the boys’ baseball and the girls’ softball program. The new lights will be installed by the end of January, and a dedication ceremony is planned for February 11, 2000, which is the first preseason baseball game for the Panthers.

“We’re real excited,” Plant junior Aaron Taylor said. “Before, there were shadows all over the place.”

“We’re on the baseball field for about five hours a day,” senior Nick Alfonso said. “Without baseball and a field to play on, what do we do in those five hours?”

Yerrid, who donates to local children’s and pediatric causes, was a member of the team of attorneys that successfully represented the State of Florida in its $11.3 billion statement with big tobacco companies. At the time of the settlement, Yerrid pledged that fees obtained from the tobacco companies be used to support local children’s causes.

“I’ve been active in other charities,” Yerrid said. “But knew there was a real urgent need to tend to the [Plant] field. These kids are our best hopes.”

Yerrid’s graduating class of ’67 put the Plant High panther emblem on the school’s gym exterior wall facing Dale Mabry Highway. The newly lit baseball field officially will be named the Steve Yerrid Sports Complex, replacing its more famous alumnus, Wade Boggs, for whom the field previously named.

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