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Field Preparation for the 2008 District 4 State Little League Tournament

This year Bergenfield, New Jersey Little League will host the 2008 State Little League Tournament which will be held from July 24 thru July 29th. In order for the field and the facilities to be ready for such an event many hours of preparation leading up to the event will be accomplished by hardworking and dedicated volunteers.

Anyone who has ever hosted a baseball tournament knows the hours and commitment that are needed to ensure that the players, coaches and fans have not only the best time possible but also a field that is safe and playable. It sometimes takes a year or more to prepare for such an event. In Bergenfield’s case it would need to be done with considerably less time.

Bergenfield was fortunate that reconditioning and renovation work on Hickey Field actually began in April of 2007 for the District 4 Tournament. The infield grass section was removed and the area was re-graded. Four-foot rolls of sod consisting of a blend of Kentucky Bluegrass were delivered and installed by Tuckahoe Sod Company out of Hammonton, NJ. This was the same type of sod that was installed on many different major league fields, including Shea Stadium and Fenway Park. Staunton Field, our other field which will be used for practice sessions during the tournament, also had its infield sodded. A warning track in the outfield for Hickey Field was cut out and red stone dust delivered from George Schoefield Quality Materials located in Sommerset, NJ was installed at a depth 4-6”. Aerating and slit seeding with a 70/30 percent mixture of perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass was performed on the outfield area for both fields.

During the season (spring-fall) Hickey Field holds over a combination of 300 games and practices. A maintenance program including frequent mowing, aeration, slit seeding, topdressing and fertilizing were part of a program to keep the turf at its best. Daily maintenance of the mound and home plate areas as well as skinned area of the infield was performed by coaches and parents. The teams that played during the district tournament all thought the field was in great shape.

In January it was announced that Bergenfield would be the site for the State Little League Tournament. Thankfully after the fall baseball season was over my son Kyle and I had already added new clay to the infield. January was a mild month so we cut out and extended the warning track around the entire field. Again we had the help of volunteers to move the stone dust. The bullpens were redone in April as well the painting of the refreshment stand and dugouts. The refreshment stand also had major renovations that will help during tournament time.

The mowing height for the infield is 1.5” and the outfield is mowed at 2”. Mowing is done 2-3 times weekly with a 21’ mower. A striping kit was attached to give a striping pattern that you see in many college and professional fields.

As the tournament fast approaches we continue to work on improving the field conditions. Daily mowing and grooming will be the norm. Worn areas in front of the mound will be resodded and thinned areas will be over seeded with perennial ryegrass. Those who have volunteered to help with field maintenance will be trained to perform tasks. The field will be closed for a few weeks so that we may have the opportunity to have it in the best shape possible. Wilfred MacDonald, Inc. out of South Hackensack, NJ will be donating mowing and grooming equipment that will help give the field that MLB look as well as improve field conditions.

This will be the biggest event for the teams participating in the state tournament before the winner moves on to the Eastern Regional held in Bristol, CT and then hopefully onto Williamsport, PA and the Little League World Series. Bergenfield Little League is being very well supported throughout the town and wishes the players, coaches and family members who come to Bergenfield will find their time exciting as well as memorable.

Maintenance Schedule

March

  1. Cut out base paths and edge
  2. Edge existing warning track area
  3. Apply stone dust to new area
  4. Slit/seed infield with 100%KBG
  5. Aerate outfield and seed with 100% KBG
  6. Drag and groom infield
  7. Lower mower blade and cut at 1.5"
  8. Paint dugouts and Refreshment Stand
  9. Relamp scoreboard or move to left center field
  10. Install windscreen in outfield
  11. Inspect irrigation system and install quick couplings
  12. Order as needed clacined clay as needed

April

  1. Weekly mowing of infield and out field (2-3 times)
  2. Fertilize turf with 24-0-11
  3. Daily maintenance of skinned area, warning track, pitcher's mound
  4. Spot seed bare areas weekly
  5. Litter and trash pick up in all areas
  6. Adjust irrigation as needed
  7. Walk field daily and inspect for any safety concerns

May

  1. Weekly mowing of infield and outfield (2-3 times)
  2. Apply turf growth regulator to infield and outfield
  3. Daily maintenance of skinned area, warning track, pitcher's mound
  4. Spot seed bare areas weekly
  5. Litter and trash pick up in all areas
  6. Adjust irrigation as needed
  7. Walk field daily and inspect for any safety concerns
  8. Aerate outfield
  9. String and line base paths and perimeter to keep in check

June

  1. Weekly mowing of infield and outfield (2-3 times)
  2. Apply crabgrass and chinch bug control in second week
  3. Daily maintenance of skinned area, warning track, pitcher's mound
  4. Spot seed/topdress worn areas weekly
  5. Litter and trash pick up in all areas
  6. Adjust irrigation as needed
  7. Walk field daily and inspect for any safety concerns
  8. String and line base paths and perimeter to keep in check
  9. Fertilize with 34-0-0

July

(Close field until tournament time)

  1. Repair and re sod in front of pitcher’s mound
  2. Rebuild Pitcher's mound one week prior to tournament
  3. Measure and cut out base paths, pitcher's mound, home plate area, perimeter 2 weeks prior to tournament
  4. Edge and apply fresh coating to warning track areas in the first week
  5. Recondition bull pen areas 2 weeks prior to tournament
  6. Install new base plugs one week prior to tournament
  7. Apply stencil work one week to tournament and repaint one day before tournament/Touch up as needed
  8. Inspect and repair all windscreens daily
  9. Recondition home plate area 3 days prior to tournament
  10. Daily maintenance of skinned area, warning track, pitcher's mound, home plate area
  11. Mow turf areas daily one week prior and during tournament
  12. Litter & trash pick up daily

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