Playing fields at Mountain View Park undergo major upgrade in off-season

Posted November 5, 2018 at 1:12 pm


The Mountain View Park Board along with the Albany Cal Ripken League have joined forces in the off season to better the playing fields.

Both organizations, including several donations from various organizations and businesses in the community, have put together $27,000 in order to make two fields something to be proud of.

Albany Cal Ripken League President Chris Marlow is extremely excited about the work being done at the park.

Two of the three fields at the park have been leveled and dirt placed on top of the playing surface that is more baseball friendly. Both fields have had sod laid down with one field, the baseball field, with sod laid down the first and third baselines, as well as behind home plate.

“There is about nine feet of sod that makes the arch on the softball field,” Marlow said. “We put sod up and down the first and third baselines of the baseball field which is about 110 feet on both sides.”

Both the Cal Ripken League and the Mountain View Park Board worked closely on this project in order for kids to have good fields to play and practice on during the spring and summer months.

“The park board did the softball field and we did the baseball field,” Marlow said. “We didn’t mix the money so to speak, but we were partners on this deal. We also had several donations from community supporters to help us out.”

In order to get the baseball field back to level, Marlow said almost 200 tons of dirt was added to the field.

“The softball field was cut down to avoid the drainage issue that was eroding it away,” Marlow said. “The fields hadn’t really had anything done to them. They had some dirt added to them about five years ago, but other than that they haven’t had any work done to them since they were put in.”

Marlow said since the Clinton County Middle School Baseball and Softball teams use the fields during their season, they made the softball field a true softball field and the baseball field is a true baseball field.

“The baseball team was playing 90 feet bases, but the bases ended 20 feet in the grass,” Marlow said. “It has a 143 feet arc on it, so it’s a regulation baseball field. The bases and everything are not set yet, but we are going to set them on the first of November and maintain the field the way it’s supposed to be maintained.”

This idea to do the maintenance on the fields came up at the beginning of the year according to Marlow.

“We saw the softball field was in bad shape due to the drainage issue,” Marlow said. “If you didn’t know just by looking at it, the softball field had a difference from first base to third base of 22 inches in elevation.”

Marlow said they wanted to fix the fields so the girls would have a good field to play on as well as the boys also.

“Since this is a middle school used park, who wants to bring their school to a field where your second baseman and first baseman are playing 20 feet in the grass?,” Marlow said. “It just doesn’t make sense. We saw an opportunity with the park board and Cal Ripken League because we did a good job this year. We raised a lot of money … close to $10,000. It’s been a big undertaking. Anyone who looks at them will see … that’s a true field right there.”

Even though the majority of the work is completed, there is still work to be done. Marlow has been in charge of making sure the sod is being watered everyday and once it takes root, there will be more top dressing added to the fields, along with the setting of the bases and new foul poles on each field.

Another positive about adding the top dressing to the fields is it will help drain the water better to keep games from being canceled during the summer months due to rain showers.

“If it rains you will be able to play on it in the afternoon,” Marlow said. “It will actually soak up the water better than what we had on there before. The rocks were also taken out.”

Marlow said the rocks on each field were dangerous.

“We would come out here and drag it and pick up a five gallon bucket of rocks,” Marlow said. “If it rained, you would pick up another five gallon bucket of rocks. Hopefully this will help with the rock issue and the bad bounce issue. The kids are going to actually get the chance to take a true hop on a true dirt field the way it’s supposed to be.”

With the changes being made to the fields, Marlow said there are going to be more changes made to the dugouts as well in the future.

“The dugouts will be changed, the blocks will be tore down,” Marlow said. “Sawyers’ Welding made four new foul poles for the softball field and the baseball field. We just have to paint them and put them up when we square the fields up.”

Among all the changes made to the fields, Marlow said he will also hopefully be working with a company to get new scoreboards up as well.

With all the work being done on the two biggest fields, Marlow said the third smaller field is not left unnoticed.

“We are going to try and fix it ourselves,” Marlow said. “It’s probably the better field of all three fields before we started working on them, but now it needs some work done. It’s minor work, but it still needs done.”

According to Marlow, there are a few spots that hold water which need fixing, as well as some patchy grass that needs removed.

“That one is more of a t-ball/coach pitch field because its about 160 feet fence,” Marlow said. “The softball field fence, when we get it squared up will be about 201 feet and the baseball field will be about 286 feet.”

All fields will be equipped with new bases and new home plates. The baseball field will have several different options for bases so it will be able to accommodate different leagues.

“We are going to put in 60 feet pegs and 90 feet pegs and we will probably put in 70 feet pegs so the older kids can play what they call a 50/70 league as well.”

With both organizations working together, along with community partners, the park is on the way up and can be a safe and enjoyable place for families to have enjoy baseball and softball games with top of the line fields to play on.

“We are hoping to see a lot of changes in the park within the next year or so,” Marlow said. “I think right now the Cal Ripken League and the park board have a pretty good relationship built. We have other things we are thinking about doing to the fields as well like safety nets for foul balls and things like that.”

Marlow said it’s good to be thinking about things for the future.

“We are trying to help better the park all the way around,” Marlow said. “These fields are now what they need to be. It’s come a long way … that’s for sure.”