The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Inaugural Tournament Held at Deaconess Sports Park !

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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.

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Common Groundskeeping Mistakes !

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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 www.groundskeeperu.com.

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

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North Ridgeville, OH softball center could open this year !

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NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH —

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.

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Batter’s Box Fortification !

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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

http://beaconathletics.com/

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CONSIDER A BUSINESS IN MOBILE BATTING CAGES !

CONSIDER A BUSINESS IN MOBILE BATTING CAGES  !

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There are many of you who are baseball and softball instructors that are looking to expand your business. Have you considered looking into a mobile batting cage? A mobile batting cage that could be set up at tournaments, registrations, camps, clinics, and festivals. A mobile batting cage that can rented out or available for a birthday party. These are some of the places that you can take your mobile batting cage. An investment in a mobile batting cage could be very lucrative for you and your business. Our company, INMOTION Air builds the perfect mobile batting cage.

Go to www.inmotionair.net for more details.

Call Directly:  (678) 313 – 4162

InMotion Air has revolutionized the way inflatables are used in sports and promotion. We help your brand and team come alive! Customizing inflatables allows us to provide your team or brand with that extra edge that everyone is looking for.

BASEBALL/SOFTBALL:

Air-Sealed Inflatable Batting Cage

  • SETUP IN MINUTES
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How we’re different

The InMotion Air revolution in sports equipment is perfect for university, high school and travel teams because it takes just minutes to put up and take down this rugged inflatable batting cage in any indoor or outdoor environment. These engineered inflatables collapse down to a fraction of the inflated size making transport and storage easy. Our custom air-sealed technology is tested tough to withstand the rigors of active sports and provides instant practice space for any practice, camp or clinic. The high grade materials ensure that our inflatables withstand any climate. Not only do our inflatables perform, but they can make your team look good, too. They can be customized with team logos, colors and even sponsors. Think of the increased pride and visual exposure for your team, organization or company.

Air-Sealed Sports Equipment

InMotion Air portable cages for:

Baseball, Softball, Soccer, Golf,

Lacrosse, and Backyard Multi-Sport use:

  • SETUP IN MINUTES
  • INDOOR/OUTDOOR
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  • EASY PORTABILITY
  • RUGGED DURABILITY

For more information, contact Craig directly:

(678) 313-4162  or craig@inmotionair.net.

He’s our inflatable sporting equipment specialist,

and can expertly recommend what your team needs.

Call or contact us today! (678) 313 – 4162

Copyright © 2015 InMotion Air. All rights reserved.

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