The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Seacoast United to buy New England Sports Park !


AMESBURY, MA. —  Always looking to expand his company’s brand of club soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and baseball, Seacoast United vice president Ian Burgess knows a scoring opportunity when he sees one, which is why he will soon be basing his latest soccer club, Seacoast United Admirals out of South Hunt Road’s New England Sports Park.

Burgess  said when he heard that his old friend Tosh Farrell was giving up the lease on the former Amesbury Sports Park’s turf fields as well his own Tosh Farrell Soccer indoor facilities located just down the street, Burgess snapped into action.

“It was combination of things,” Burgess said. “It is a good location, right off I-495, with easy access for a lot of towns. It is going to create a lot of opportunities for a lot of players who potentially want a little bit more development of the sport but also to possibly move on to the next level outside of what their own towns can offer.”

As negotiations between Seacoast, Farrell and sports park owner Ted Dipple began earlier this year, Burgess saw another opportunity and Seacoast is currently under a purchase and sales agreement with Dipple to buy the New England Sports Park itself.

“We came about it after many meeting between Tosh and Ted and both wanted to head in different directions,” Burgess said. “We could have worked out a deal to lease with Ted (but) he was happier with a clean break.”

While he said he expects the sports park deal will be finalized in September, Burgess said that Seacoast took over Farrell’s lease at the beginning of the month.

“It is two separate organizations,” Burgess said. “Obviously we are looking to purchase the sports park itself and that would be ours and controlled by us. Tosh’s indoor facility was a lease that he had set up with the owner of the building. Ideally we would have liked to have leased it closer to the winter. But, as you can imagine, the owner wanted to get somebody in straight-away. So we will use that more in the winter and the sports in the fall, summer and spring.”

Burgess and company took over operations of both Farrell’s indoor and outdoor South Hunt Road locations earlier this week and Tosh Farrell Soccer itself has been rolled into the Seacoast United Admirals which are set to make their debut on the turf fields in August.

“We have already had evaluations for the Admirals,” Burgess said. “I think we are probably going to have 15 teams based out of there originally, but that will definitely grow. We have already had the evaluation nights but we are still looking for extra players.”


New Soccer facility will lease tubing lanes back to Dipple



New Turf Installed At Hummer Sports Park, Topeka, KS. !


TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — The soccer field and football field at Hummer Sports Park have new turf.

Both fields replaced the old turf that maintenance supervisor Aaron Becker says was more than a decade old.

“We feel like on the last turf it gave us great life with the product,” Becker said. “We got a good twelve years out of it and it was just time to make the change.”


Becker says the entire project costs nearly $800,000.

The fields will be ready for play in late July. Both fields are still without the sand and rubber that cushions the turf.

On the football field, the crew was finishing up the end zones with the Hummer Sports Park logo.

Becker says the field will eventually have a midfield logo.



5 Ballfield Maintenance Tips for A Midseason Shape Up !


Jun 16, 2015 · Paul Zwaska

The baseball/softball season is a long one with games played pretty frequently. The Little League fields that I help oversee has 3 fields — two 60′ and one 90′ diamond. Each of these fields sees approximately 400 events per growing season, including practices, league games, league tournaments, clinics, all-star practices and more. With all this activity, fields can get rundown quickly, especially if maintenance staff is stretched thin. But just a little mid-season love can go a long way toward maintaining the integrity and aesthetics of the ball field. These five mini projects can pay big dividends.

Here are my 5 Favorite Ballfield Maintenance Tips for Midseason:

1. Clean-up your turf edges. Many think turf edging is a lot of work but if you keep up with edging (just a few times per year!) it can be a fairly quick job that a couple of crew members can perform in a very short order of time. String your string lines right on the very edge of the grass so you are just trimming off the stragglers that are growing laterally into the skinned area. On curved areas such as the back arc or cutouts, this can be done by eye but it may take a little practice just to get the hang of making a smooth gradual curve. Use a scuffle hoe to take out any other individual rogue turf plants or weeds coming up in the skin areas. My crew at our Little League complex does this once a month and they can complete all 3 fields (two 60s and a 90) in about 5 hours. The sharp clean edges give the fields a professional look. This is also a good time to address any minor lip issues.

2. Scarify and level infield skin. This is not precision leveling, this is a quick down-and-dirty leveling job used for cutting down the usual high spots and filling in the routine low spots. This can be done easily if you own a three-wheel grooming unit Like a Toro Infield Pro with a box blade. Simply scarify the infield with the nail drag and follow up with the box blade to do a quick level job. For those that don’t have such a three-wheel groomer, scarify/nail drag your infield and use level boards to redistribute infield material from the typical high spots and deposit the material in the typical low spot areas. Finish by dragging the infield, but use your drag either folded in half or rolled up first to further help leveling, then complete the operation by dragging the infield with the drag fully deployed. Maintaining the surface grade to insure positive surface drainage requires constant vigilance and action to prevent the degradation of your surface grade from getting out of hand. Again, like edging, the more often you do it, the less time it takes and the better your infield skin will perform.

3. Redistribute topdressing on infield skin. If your infield skin utilizes a topdressing material, that material will have a tendency to migrate due to rain, dragging, and play. The topdressing usually ends up on the low side of the infield as surface drainage and gravity will pull it there. On a typically graded infield, that means the topdressing piles up along the back arc of the infield. In order to take full advantage of having a topdressing on your infield, it is best to periodically redistribute the topdressing to insure a consistent thickness across the entire infield skin. This usually involves taking a level board and pulling the accumulated topdressing from the edge of the arc of the infield and pulling inwards and feathering it out all of the way to the high point of the infield skin. An even thickness of topdressing across the infield skin helps to promote a consistent bounce of the ball on the infield surface. On a 60’ diamond with infield grass, this will take 10 – 15 minutes. A 90’ diamond with infield grass can take about 25 – 30 minutes. You can essentially double the time for totally skinned infields of each of the 2 respective sizes.

4. Reslope mound. It’s good to pull out the old slope gauge and check the front slope of the mound part way through the season. What it typically will reveal is that you may have been keeping up with the main wear areas but were probably slacking on the slower wearing areas between the high wear areas and because of that, the slope becomes inconsistent and out of whack. Clean off all topdressing and spoils on the mound so you can clearly see the condition of the level table at the top of the mound and the front slope. Using a level, add clay wherever low on the table and cut down any high spots with a sharpened iron rake. On the slope, use a mound slope gauge to accurately return the front slope to its proper specifications, adding clay or cutting down as needed. When finished, soak the mound, add new top dress, and soak again. Then allow to cure somewhat in the sun.

5. Give your home plate area a face lift. Much like the mound, the home plate area will also become all out of whack as well. Sure, you’ll repair the main wear areas, but around those there are areas that wear much slower and are not typically caught by the human eye day-to-day. Again, sweep all of the topdressing and spoils of and remove from the area you are working. This includes the batter’s boxes, the catcher’s box and the umpire area. More than likely the umpire area is too high and needs to be cut down. This results from the catcher kicking material back with his or her cleats as they get into position and the umpire then stepping on the spoils that were kicked out thereby packing them down and creating a high spot. Use a sharpened iron rake or a weighted x-drag to cut this high area down. Also x-drag all around the clay areas to take down any remaining high areas. Sweep clean again. Now you can see where the clay areas are truly low. Wet the area down and let the water be absorbed into the clay. Add clay and use a rake to spread out evenly and level. Compact with tamps and or a roller to fully flatten out. X-drag the remaining home plate area outside of the clay area. Use a level board to cut down high areas, fill low spots and generally level the entire home plate circle. Add topdressing as needed and finish drag the entire home plate area.

If your fields are anywhere near as busy as ours are at our complex, follow these 5 mid-season ballfield maintenance tips to give them the boost they need to make it through the rest of the season, all while looking sharp and playing true.

Tags: ballfield maintenance, ballfield maintenance tips, little league fields, scuffle hoe, x-drag


Managing Sport Facilities – 3rd Edition !

By Gil Fried

Managing Sport Facilities, Third Edition, provides students with the vital information and vocabulary to make smart decisions in all areas of facility management. This edition includes a new chapter on green facility management as well as an instructor ancillary package featuring new video content.


Product Description

Managing Sport Facilities, Third Edition, continues the tradition set by its predecessors of providing future and current sport facility managers with the knowledge they need in order to make the proper decisions in all areas of facility management. Like the previous two versions, the third edition provides a comprehensive understanding of crafting a career in running a sport facility.

The third edition of Managing Sport Facilities engages students with a clear writing style, extensive real-world examples, and information on managing a range of facilities, from smaller health clubs, colleges, and recreational environments to professional sport stadiums. Because managers require current information to meet the needs of new facilities and audiences, this edition has been updated to include the following:

  • A new chapter on green facility management
  • Updated Sport Facility Management Profiles featuring industry experts introducing applied connections for each chapter
  • Expanded Facility Focus sidebars presenting facts and strategies used by real facilities
  • An updated instructor ancillary package, now including instructor videos that feature professionals in the field offering advice and insight

In response to its increasing importance over the last decade, the newest chapter in this text focuses on implementing and maintaining green facilities. This chapter details items that should be considered during the construction of new environmentally conscious facilities as well as information on retrofitting and updating older facilities with green technology, such as recycling initiatives and solar panels. A facility built according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards may lose its certification if not properly maintained over time, so tips for preserving green facilities are also included.

In Managing Sport Facilities, Third Edition, students will learn the history of the sport facility industry and the primary goals and objectives of facility managers; how to build and finance a facility; facility operation; administration of marketing, finance, and other critical areas; and event administration and management. A comprehensive approach to understanding the wide-ranging job of sport facility managers has been applied, with a structure that builds from general to specific, and finally to practical knowledge in the final chapter. In addition, the text offers updated content in the Sport Facility Management Profiles, Facilities Trivia, Behind the Scenes, and Facility Focus sidebars in each chapter, which bring the theories and concepts to life by citing specific examples of strategies used in making a facility—and the facility manager—more successful. New instructor videos that can be shared during class provide students with a glimpse into the lives of real-world professionals as they provide insight and advice.

Managing Sport Facilities, Third Edition, contains extensive textbook learning aids, including real-world checklists and forms that allow students a glimpse of some of the tools and guidelines that professionals use in their work. Each chapter begins with objectives and an overview and concludes with a summary and discussion questions and activities. The instructor ancillaries will help instructors prepare for and teach classes, and the text itself has an engaging style that makes the reading cogent and easy to remember.

Starting from its already-solid foundation, the new material, updates, ancillaries, and practical learning aids make this third edition the most complete and up-to-date text on the subject. Students using this text will learn what it takes to blend leadership, operations management, and creativity in promotions as they begin their journey to being top-notch sport facility managers.


Part I. Introduction to Sport Facility Management

Chapter 1. History and Future of Sport and Public Assembly Facilities

Facilities in Ancient Times

Facilities From the Middle Ages to the 1800s

Facility Management From Ancient to Modern Times

Evolution of Professional and Collegiate Facilities

Facility Focus

The Future of Sport Facilities

Trends That Will Affect Future Facilities

Chapter 2. Facility Management

What Is Facility Management?

The Facility Manager


Managerial Functions

Chapter 3. Management Theory and Human Resources

Management Theory

Management Research Failure


Computer-Aided Facility Management

Simple Strategies


Sport Facility Jobs

Employment Options

Hiring Process

Employee Management

Legal Concerns

Part II. Facility Development

Chapter 4. Facility Planning

Fundamentals of Planning

Planning for Existing Facilities

Planning for Future Facilities

Chapter 5. Facility Site and Design

Site Location

Site Cost

Site Selection

Facility Design

Chapter 6. Facility Construction

Construction Planning

Preconstruction Phase

Construction Elements

Project Costs

Completion and Analysis

Part III. Facility Systems and Operations

Chapter 7. Facility Systems

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

Air Quality

Energy Systems


Interior Systems

Exterior Systems

Combined Interior and Exterior Systems

Chapter 8. Facility Operations

Space Management

Managing Specialized Components

Establishing Grass Fields

Maintaining Grass Fields

Additional Outdoor Concerns

Chapter 9. Facility Maintenance

Maintenance and Repair Program

Maintenance Audits

Maintenance Department

Basic Maintenance and Cleaning

Chapter 10. Green Facility Management

The Need for Green Strategies

Green Solutions

Green Building Design

Green Building Operations

Researching Wise Investments

Part IV. Facility Administration

Chapter 11. Marketing and Sales

Marketing Concepts

The Marketing Process

Facility Marketing


Chapter 12. Finance and Budgeting

Financial Concepts

Revenue and Expenses

Financial Analysis


New Facility Financing

Selling a Facility

Chapter 13. Legal Responsibilities

Basic Law

Tort Law

Risk Management and Insurance


Property Law

Constitutional Law

Government Regulations

Part V. Event and Activity Management

Chapter 14.Implementing a Security Plan

What Is Security?

Crowd Management

Other Safety Concerns

Crisis Management

Chapter 15. Facility Preparation and Event Management

Revisiting Planning

Attracting Events

Event Preparation

Mid-Event Concerns

Postevent Analysis

Postevent Surveys

Marketing for the Future

Marketing Efforts and Costs

Facility Analysis

** Link:


County negotiating with Jordan Foster to complete El Paso Sportspark !

El Paso, TX – The Company that built Downtown ballpark; should finish Sportspark reconstruction in about four months, officials said

[ElPaso CPX]


County negotiating with Jordan Foster to complete Sportspark.

The county is negotiating with Jordan Foster Construction, the company that built the Downtown ballpark, to finish the long overdue El Paso County Sportspark renovation.

County officials expect Jordan Foster to resume work at the Sportspark more than a year after legal issues with the former contractor and architect put the reconstruction on hold. The project, which was supposed to take eight months to complete, started in October 2012.

A contract is expected to go before the County Commissioners Court for approval in the next 30 days, said Norma Palacios, the county’s assistant public works director.

It would then take Jordan Foster about three months to complete the work, Palacios said.

The county selected Jordan Foster through a process called job-order contracting, in which qualified companies are on a sort of on-call list for certain types of projects.

The process is faster than a traditional bidding process, county officials said, because it cuts the time it takes to procure engineering, design and contracting companies. As part of the process, Jordan Foster was one of four companies interviewed by a panel of five people.

A contract amount is expected to be determined in the next couple of weeks, Palacios said.

“Because of the job-order contract process, we now can concurrently negotiate with the contracting firm and don’t have to wait until the architect finishes its job to put the work out to bid,” County Judge Veronica Escobar said.

Earlier this year, the county hired Carl Daniel Architects for $187,500 to oversee the pending construction at the 45-acre Sportspark at 1780 N. Zaragoza.

Escobar said the architect’s work is about 90 percent completed.

County Commissioner Carlos Leon, who represents the East Side area where the Sportspark is located, said he is satisfied with the selection of Jordan Foster.

“I’m very confident that a company such as Jordan Foster will start on the project and finish it. We will have a beautiful completed park in the very near future,” he said.

Jordan Foster Construction is a partnership by C.F. “Paco” Jordan, Paul L. Foster and Darren Woody that merged CF Jordan Construction and Franklin Mountain JFC.

Jordan Foster completed the Downtown ballpark in under a year.

Leon said there is still much work that needs to be completed at the Sportspark, including four fields, a pro shop, a clubhouse and batting cages. Six fields are currently open to the public.

The county is still in a legal dispute with Sunlight Enterprises, the company that was awarded the original $7.5 million Sportspark contract in 2012; the architectural firm Parkhill, Smith and Cooper Inc.; and the bonding company, RLI Corp.

Part of the litigation involves money that the county withheld from Sunlight Enterprises after the company did not complete the project on time.

Leon said that while the legal problems are resolved, the county will move forward to complete the park.


New Baseball complex gets good reviews, but coaches note one flaw !


EVANSVILLE, IN - The new baseball and softball complex at North Green River and Heckel roads made its debut last weekend to generally good reviews, but local coaches did point out a flaw that one termed “a little ridiculous.”

Scoreboards on the eight fields show the game’s score and inning, but they do not indicate other essential game data — namely balls, strikes and outs.

scoreboardThe $16.5 million, built and managed by the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau, is being counted on to generate tourism for the area. It hosted its first tournament and opening ceremonies last weekend. The next one is booked June 20-21, and others are to follow during the summer.

Coaches — while praising positives about the complex and the economic impact it will have — said they were surprised by the scoreboards’ omission of balls, strikes and outs.

“I don’t know why you even buy a scoreboard without that,” said Mike Webb, coach of the Rookies 9U team consisting of boys from Boonville and Newburgh.

Jeff Rothschild, who coaches the Evansville-based Southern Indiana Legends, a squad of 12-year-olds, said it is “awesome” that the area finally has its own baseball and softball complex, and the first tournament was undoubtedly a success.

However, “I can’t imagine a baseball facility that doesn’t have balls strikes and outs on the scoreboard,” Rothschild said.

Visitors Bureau Marketing Director Laura Libs said the scoreboard design was motivated in part by the message board, which will allow for the sale of advertising to generate revenue for the park.

“That certainly was part of the discussion,” Libs said.

In all, 47 baseball teams were signed up for last weekend’s tournament at Deaconess Sports Park. The complex was not entirely finished, and there were a few glitches. Scoreboards malfunctioned in two instances.

Concession stands ran low on food, “which was a good and a bad thing,” Libs said.

Coaches said the last-minute push to prepare fields for games was evident — sod was not packed solidly — but they praised efforts of the grounds crew, whose task was made even more challenging by occasional rain during the tournament.

“They did a nice job to deal with rain spurts, and they dragged the field after every game and rechalked it,” Webb said. “Everywhere else we play, they chalk the field before the first game and then don’t redo it the rest of the day.”

Rothschild said, “I saw them work 12-14 hour days. They worked extremely long hours, and what they did is amazing. It’s local jobs for our economy. In Elizabethtown (Kentucky), with rain, a tournament doesn’t get played.”

Rothschild, the owner of Evansville Garage Doors, said the arrival of Deaconess Sports Park will mean good things for the region and the local baseball and softball community.

“As a travel coach, to be able to sleep in your own bed and not a hotel, to not have to drive two hours for quality baseball is awesome,” Rothschild said. “The kids loved being able to play at their home. And from a business standpoint, they were able to spend their money locally instead of in other cities and their own concession stands instead of in Kentucky, (elsewhere in) Indiana or in Illinois.”

Rothschild saw visiting teams in local restaurants and in Eastland Mall during the weekend.

“The most important thing I can tell you from a business standpoint is that dollars stayed in the community,” he said.

But Rothschild said Deaconess Sports Park, while “beautiful,” needs to consider upgrading some fields for baseball teams in older age groups, while also tweaking the scoreboards.

The complex’s eight fields can only accommodate 70-foot baselines, which are used for baseball for players as old as 12. Visitors bureau officials have said they did not intend for the facility to be used by older boys, who need at least 80-foot baselines, and they will consider paying for expanded infields.

The cost is about $30,000 per field.

Tournament organizers were caught off guard when they learned Deaconess Sports Park could not accommodate 13-year-old baseball. Last weekend, 13-year-old teams played at Bosse Field, a professional baseball park with 90-foot baselines.

Game Day USA, the same sponsor of last weekend’s tournament at Deaconess Sports Park, will return for another tournament June 26-28. But for that event, games in the older age division will not be moved to Bosse Field or other Evansville sites. Those games have been canceled, and 13-year-old teams that had signed up were offered refunds or an opportunity to play in a Columbus, Indiana, event.

An email to coaches from Game Day USA cited “logistical challenges” of having 13-year-old games at an alternate site, miles away from the primary location.

Rothschild said, “For the dollars that would be brought in for that age bracket, it would be worth it (upgrading some fields at Deaconess Sports Park) for older age groups. I definitely think they ought to look at it. There’s big money in travel baseball. When I played — and I’m 42 years old — baseball stopped in May and June. Now we play year-round.”

Visitors bureau officials have said the complex was designed only for girls’ softball and for baseball up to age 12 because they considered those the strongest tourism markets. The complex in northeast Vanderburgh County is adjacent to Goebel Soccer Complex.


Inaugural Tournament Held at Deaconess Sports Park !


Evansville, IN – The Game Day tournament kicked off Saturday; it’s the inaugural tournament at the newly named Deaconess Sports Park in Evansville.

   In all, 35 baseball and softball teams will be competing this weekend; from ages eight to thirteen.

   Organizers say the 13-year-olds will have to play at USI, however. The Convention and Visitors Bureau says when they booked the tournament, they didn’t know it would include brackets for kids 13-and-up. Their games require a larger baseball diamond than the Sports Park has.

   Never the less, Game Day USA officials say they are excited to host their tournament in the River City.

   And despite the fact that some of the teams have to play at other fields, like USI and Bosse, Game Day USA officials say they hope to have more tournaments here in the future with more teams.



Common Groundskeeping Mistakes !


May 15, 2015 · Paul Zwaska

Coaches and volunteers, God love ’em. The games of baseball and softball usually can’t go on without these dedicated people who are there to either teach or just help out. Most are genuinely trying hard to do the right thing; others are just there to fill a void. It is no wonder that sports field managers cringe when they find out that the coaches and volunteers worked together to get a game in after a rain event. Instead of throwing caution to the wind and doing whatever it takes to get your game in, consider the consequences to the quality of the field surface, those who must fix it, and the other teams that are affected by your actions.

Let’s visit some of the common groundskeeping mistakes committed by those with good intentions, but create undesirable results:

Pushing standing water off an infield skin surface with a broom or roller squeegee

Undesirable ResultInfield soil and topdressing are picked up along with the water and pushed off into the lip. This ends up building the lip higher, creating a natural dam, and also making the low spot, where the water collected, lower due to infield material being pushed out along with the water.

Correct Action: Use a Puddle Pump or Beacon Puddle Sponges to suck up and remove excess freestanding water in the low spots.

Using excessive amounts of drying agent

Undesirable ResultThe only thing this does is waste large dollar amounts of drying agent to get games played. Excess drying agent remains on the field afterward, which can increase the speed of the field drying, but it can also help store more water at the surface in a rain event as the calcined clay drying agent gorges itself with water. This may actually slow the drying process if too much is sitting on the surface. On a field without a water source, you can actually suffer from the field getting too dry and hard as the calcined clay sucks every bit of moisture out of the infield skin.

Correct Action: If you walk on an infield and it is soft enough that your feet sink, it is too soft to play on. Incredible amounts of damage can occur on a ballfield when it is played on when the infield skin is too soft. Let Mother Nature do her evaporative magic first. Once the field is stable enough to walk on, then you can work to dry the low spots by removing the freestanding water first. Only then should you use drying agent to finish the drying process and it will take much less material to do so

Dragging an infield without removing the bases and pulling the drag right over the top of them

Undesirable ResultInfield soil builds up around the bases slowly burying them and making them harder to remove. This also destroys the consistency of the surface grade across the infield. This is just plain lazy.

Correct Action: Remove the bases and place in dugouts. Install base plugs in base anchors before dragging infield. Cut down any high areas under or around bases with an iron rake or aluminum field rake.

Dragging infield material into the turf edges

Undesirable Result: When dragging the infield, if the drag wanders onto the turf edges, it deposits infield soil and topdressing into the turf edges which is then glued in by rainfall and irrigation cycles, unless cleaned out fairly soon afterwards. As this material builds up in the turf, it creates a lip which becomes a natural dam impeding the free flow of rainfall off the playing surface.

Correct Action: Stay a minimum of 6 inches away from the edge of the infield skin where it meets the turf. This will help to reduce the incidence of lip build-up. Additionally, use a push broom, leaf rake, backpack blower, yard vacuum or power broom to pull loose material out of the turf edges after you drag the skin area

Packing dry mound spoils back into the wear holes on the mound slope

Undesirable ResultThis is basically wasted effort, pure and simple. Water and clay are the glue that bind a soil together. Without those, no binding will take place, no matter how hard you pulverize and pound the old clay that has been kicked out of the wear areas. Additionally, if you pull the old clay laying on the surface of the mound back into place, it undoubtedly has also been contaminated with other materials, like topdressing or infield soil, which drastically reduce the binding power of the used material.

Correct Action: The only way to patch a clay area that produces an effectively sturdy and stable patch is by using fresh new clay and water. The process is as follows:

  1. Sweep all loose material away from the wear holes.
  2. Use water to adequately moisten the sides and bottom of the holes. Allow some time for the water to absorb into the established clay.
  3. Add fresh clean clay to the wear areas and tamp into place. Level as needed.
  4. Sprinkle some water over the entire surface of the patch.
  5. Pull old topdressing and other material back over patch and finish groom.

Not tarping the clay areas on the mound and home plate at the end of the day if tarps are available

Undesirable Result: The clay areas are left open to the atmosphere where evaporation will pull the moisture out of the mound and batter’s box clay. Without the moisture in the clay, it fractures and chunks out of those areas very easily, drastically reducing its effectiveness of providing proper footing for a pitcher or hitter.

Correct Action: If area tarps are available, place the mound and plate tarps on whenever you finish a game or practice and no one else is around to use the field. It is always important to minimize evaporation on the clay whenever possible. BONUS: If water is available, add some water to the clay areas on the mound and batter’s box to replace what Mother Nature evaporated during the time you were using the field. Just don’t overdo it.

Give Your Coaches and Volunteers Training

To avoid these common groundskeeping mistakes, the bottom line is that coaches and volunteers should only perform minimal work on a field unless they have received more extensive training from the organization that maintains the ball fields they are playing on. A good source for basic game day groundskeeping skills can be acquired by visiting Beacon Athletics for the online Groundskeeper University 100 level courses. The 8 modules in the 100 level cover the basics of ball field maintenance for game day and are geared for coaches, volunteers, summer help or new grounds employees.

Check it out at

Sports Field Managers have a tough and challenging job to do, especially at schools and park and recs where their time is limited for working on each field they manage. I’ve never met a sports field manager who didn’t have incredible pride in the work they do, no matter the situation handed to them. Let’s hope that coaches and volunteers respect what these field managers do in order for the rest of us to play our games, both competitive and recreational.

Ref:  Beacon Athletics – 800-747-5985


North Ridgeville, OH softball center could open this year !



A women’s fast-pitch softball training facility is projected to open this year on land the city is selling to a developer.

The nearly 17,000-square-foot indoor facility will be a larger version of Leffew Fastpitch, run by well-known father-daughter softball instructors Dave and Amie Leffew in the LaGrange area.

To be built on Victory Lane near the city’s heavily traveled Lorain Road/Interstate 480 area, the center will feature eight to 10 batting and pitching cages, plus gymnasium space and a special surface, according to Tom O’Brien, owner of Blue Marble Realty, a Bay Village business that is developing the facility.

City Council’s Buildings and Lands Committee voted Monday night to recommend Council’s approval of the sale of a 3-acre parcel of land owned by the city to Blue Marble Realty.

The acreage is to be sold for $10,000, far below the $27,446-per-acre value listed by the county auditor’s office for improved acreage near the site that is part of Victory Sports Park, according to Councilman Dennis Boose, D-2nd Ward.

Law Director Andrew Crites said the site has deed restrictions due in part to its being situated on land that formerly held fly ash.

O’Brien said he is having preliminary engineering work done to ensure the acreage is stable enough to support the building. A cost figure for the project was not available from O’Brien.

He said building the softball center next door to Victory Sports Park and nearby I-480 made perfect sense because that facility could generate business for the fast-pitch center.

The 3 acres are part of a 67-acre parcel of land owned by the city and leased to PMJ Holdings, the firm that operates Victory Sports Park.

O’Brien said the center is projected to employ about 20 people, including six to seven fast-pitch coaches, and will operate as a leased subsidiary of Blue Marble Realty.

“The primary focus will be pitching, but they’ll also have catching lessons, as well as hitting and fielding (instruction),” O’Brien said.

The facility also will include retail operations, including one selling softball equipment.

O’Brien hopes to present facility plans to the city Planning Commission at its June 9 meeting, and if all approvals come in a timely manner, to have the business open by the end of the summer.


Batter’s Box Fortification !


Batter’s Box Fortification !

  High traffic areas can be a major problem. Don’t let them be. The Jox Box high traffic mats and our porous rubber mats make a huge difference in turning your field into a low-maintenance field. You can protect the batters box and home plate areas, leadoff and sliding areas around your base paths, the pitcher’s landing area on your pitching mound, and even the coaches boxes.

  Approved by ASA and USSSA for league and tournament play, these high-traffic mats are perfect for easy maintenance of these heavy wear areas.

  Also consider our clay Beacon Bricks or bagged clay for maximum protection when fortifying these high-wear areas around home plate and the pitcher’s mound. Contact our team of experts with any questions you have regarding home plate, batter’s box, pitching mounds, or base path areas.

  The ultimate ballfield resource. It’s all here.

Beacon Athletics, 8233 Forsythia St, STE 120, Middleton, WI 53562