Here we go,

 

I coach HS baseball in Maine. Our school is a Middle/High school. Very small and rural. but we have both middle and high school teams. we have 2 baseball fields, but one has been left unmaintained for 10+ years. the excuse for stopping using it was that the outfield stays pretty wet, and they had a local contractor offer to build dugouts for the other field, so they put all their eggs in that basket. they keep this old field mowed and use the outfield for the girls soccer field (not to wet at the end of summer/fall). The backstop is in good shape. There have never been dugouts but just a couple benches on either side for the teams. the mound is still somewhat elevated. Most of the infield has sparse grass growing in where the dirt is, but you can still tell the basic outline and area where the dirt is (soccer field doesnt use this area). 

 

What i would like to do is get this old field revived. there could be a lot of benefits to our program if we did this: we wouldnt have such scheduling headaches between HS and the MS teams scheduling games and practices. Id also like to host a preseason tourney that could possibly bring some money into our program. Currently we have just 1 scrimmage each year and it usually gets rain/snowed out depending on how the spring goes. the closest preseason tourney like this is a 2+ hour drive that, so far, the school isnt willing to spring for. The tourney charges $125 per team to enter. Im confident that we could get 8-10 schools on board for a tourney. So theres +/- $1k each year for hosting, not counting umpires or concessions. one of the former coaches owns the local hardware store. a girl on the softball team has a father with a big landscaping business in the area. I think i could also get a lot of parents on board with the effort and have a fair amount of supplies donated. I would like to pitch the idea, start networking, and try to revive this field over the summer for use in the 2016 season. 

 

a few questions: 

 

- The part of the field that stays the wettest is right/right center field. there is a wooded area behind this portion of the field and it does slope downhill. Im thinking 1-2 well placed french drains would fix this issue. Anyone have experience with french drains on a baseball/soccer field in the outfield? Any idea on cost involved? It seems like renting a trench digger for a couple days and installing one wouldnt be too crazy of a project. gravel would be the biggest expense here probably and that is another thing that i might be able to have a parent donate, or at least work with us on cost.

 

-Are there other options i should be looking into for drainage? I know tile drains are commonly used for athletic fields, but this seems like too big of a project to get some parents together and bang out over the summer. looks like it would really require serions pros with heavy machinery. Would French drains be adequate and hold up to the frosting and thawing up here in the north? Im thinking probably as long as we get them deep enough (2-3 ft.). 

 

-What would be a realistic estimate on having the infield redone? total overhaul? or even just doing home, the mound, and each base and having grass basepaths for a couple years before totally overhauling it? again, this is something i think that i could get a crew of players and parents together to help work on. Would just want to make sure that the mound is really done right. even a rough estimate on supplies from someone who has done something like this before? I know its hard telling without pics, but we still have snow on the ground here. 

 

Anyone with any experience with this sort of thing. I would love to hear from you? Thanks!

 

-CoachZ

 

 

Original Post

field is not fenced on the sides or around the OF. so installing a drain wouldnt interfere with any existing fence or anything like that. I'm thinking we would simply do paint lines for now and work our way up to fencing later. Sideline fencing would not interfere with soccer, but outfield would. We have temp. fencing that we put up for the spring on the other field (also used for soccer). Just that orange plastic mesh stuff that comes in a big roll, with some good stakes. 

 

Im thinking this would be a long slow process getting it to be a full on baseball field. For now, i want to focus on just the essentials of getting the thing dry and playable. Its primary use would be practice and half the games of this preseason tourney. and possibly some MS games if there are scheduling conflicts or rainouts and we all end up needing to schedule home games on the same day. 

 

hard telling right now as we have a couple feet of snow on the ground haha. but if memory serves me corectly, the wet spot is probably 200-230ft from home. then another 120 or so feet to the woods...so we would be talking about a pretty long trench for a french drain haha. wet spot is probably 20X20 or so... never took too close of a look at it last year because it was my first year and it was all i could do to just focus on my team. now im at a point where i can really start to think about building a program and have time to plan. so ill be taking a close look this spring (which is mid April-may up here, when the snow finally thaws) and have a better idea exactly what im up against. Ive bounced the idea off our AD who has been here forever, since they actually used the field, and he likes the idea, if we can get the resources together. 

 

Thanks. 

thanks for the tip about sand drains. havent looked into it yet. Ill be on it.

 

exactly what i was thinking golfman! we have a HS student (not a ballplayer) but his dad owns some gravel/sand pits. that could be a big resource. also have a ballplayer (also one of my band students) coming up through middle school whoms father owns the local hardware store. also have some other parents who were LL coaches and stuff like that. Im also in pretty good with our custodial staff. So im thinking we are in a pretty good position to rally together and make this thing happen. 

 

Now, What is a good way to scratch the backs of these potential donors? I was thinking something like "if you donate X amount of supplies we will put a banner on the backstop this big for your business...something like that." any pointers on this would be appreciated. 

 

Thanks again everyone!

 

-CoachZ

I don't have a lot of time to put a detailed answer but when talking to businesses about materials and such they will probably help you out by selling it at cost.  To them it's a no harm no foul situation because not losing money and can turn around replace it.  But before you ask them that ask if they would be willing to donate in exchange for some free advertising.  You can make a sign and put it on the fence somewhere. Businesses love free advertising.

 

End of the day have a parents meeting and ask them who can do what.  They may not be able to do it but they probably know someone who does.  Most communities want to help out and will help out.  The key is getting people motivated and you can't do that unless you ask them.  But without sounding like a jerk make sure they understand whatever they contribute it doesn't help their sons gain any playing time.

 

I say go with a french drain but that's because I have no experience with a sand drain.  Definitely check into it though.  One question on a french drain is what type of slope is to the field?  If you have a slope and don't put the drain in the right spot then you just wasted a lot of time and effort.  Rarely does a field set level - it may look level but it really isn't.

Oh yeah - on the infield that's absolutely no problem.  Renting a sod cutter is the easiest solution and tear up what you want to be dirt.  You can mess up dirt but you can mess up grass.  Worst case scenario get every player and dad out with flat shovels and start working.  Once the grass is up then till or try to deep spike drag it to turn the soil over.  Add any dirt if needed and use string, sod cutter or flat shovels to edge the lines.  Good to go.

 

Pitchers mound - just keep adding dirt and shaping it.  

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