Volunteers renovate baseball field

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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When a baseball field is referred to as Sheldon Lake, that can’t be a good thing.

That’s what members of the Folsom National Little League were calling the baseball field at Sheldon Park last spring when a late rain flooded the field between the bases, not only making it unplayable for the day of the rain, but for weeks afterward.

Thanks to some generous donations and to a half-dozen volunteers, however, the field is now ready to take on whatever Mother Nature has to offer. Preston Pipeline out of the Bay Area donated about $5,000 worth of clay and soil, while Neff Rentals offered up use of the equipment to remake the field. So on Feb. 23-24, volunteers and paid laborers got to work on the field. They included Folsom National League President Mikael Anderson, Shawn Hammond, a project manager at Preston Pipeline and a coach development officer and manager with Folsom National, Steve Tebbs, player agent and coach  and Jim Melrose, board member and Sheldon snack bar manager, who worked alongside paid laborers Matt Perrin and Justin Clark from CSU Sacramento, who prepare Sac State’s baseball field.

“In this case the pictures tell the story,” Anderson said. “We had a rain last April that flooded the field and we had guys out there with pumps and shop-vacs trying to get the water out because the soil was so saturated.”

The men added the baseball mix to the field, rebuilt the pitching mound and reset the rubber, rebuilt the home plate area and set a new home plate, reset and realigned all bases, edged the infield grass and removed berms and leveled out for drainage.

Aaron Ralls, who manages the AAA Giants, is thrilled with the new field.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Ralls said of the rebuilt field, the donations and the volunteers. “They didn’t do this to make it in the papers, they made this donation to be of service and I think it’s pretty awesome. The board members donate their time to keep the league running and in this case some of them donated physical labor.”

This past Saturday, Anderson had about 25 of his little league managers out at the field giving instructions on the proper way to drag and prepare a field, so what led to the demise of the field initially won’t happen again.