A group of community members plans to fix up and improve the baseball diamonds in Austin Park this year.
With the support of the community, Lakeshore Baseball and Softball plans to construct concrete dugouts at Sims Field and do landscaping work to all three ball-fields in the park used by the youth program. Rob and Scilla Gadjo have taken the lead in organizing the project and raising money to make sure it can happen.
While watching his son play baseball in Austin Park last year, Rob noticed that the fields were typically in rough shape, to the point that if negatively affected the games.
“I was sitting there watching my kid’s baseball games and something would come up every game about how the fields needed work,” he said.
Due to improper drainage there have often been pools of water on the field and the grass and dirt in the infield have been wet and muddy. The fields also have permanent bases in place with 60 feet between each one. This is the standard distance for little league baseball and softball, but during the summer the park hosts Babe Ruth League Cal Ripken division games that use 70-foot diamonds. For those games, the players would have to run over, or around, the permanent bases at first and third base, to get to the temporary bases 10 feet further down the baseline. Sims field, the one closest to the Sims pavilion, has been out of use for a couple years forcing the Lakeshore games onto the other two fields.
The proposal calls for removable bases to be installed at Sims and North fields, so that the baselines can be adjusted to fit the needs of the teams. They will also refurbish the fields so they drain properly and will build concrete dugouts to provide shelter form the elements at Sims field.