With an early spring, last week’s heavy rain and more evening thunderstorms Tuesday night, the Bath fields are green and ready about three weeks earlier than usual.
Bath Parks and Recreation Department employee Denny Barrett said, “The fields are in fabulous shape this year.”
“Green in early April, it’s unheard of!” said Don Allisot, the maintenance supervisor for Parks and Rec.
The department is responsible for maintaining the fields and grounds which are used for high school sports, as well as youth, rec and adult leagues. The weather has been great for getting out there earlier. Teams are practicing this week and there are scrimmages and games planned for next week.
Barrett said on Wednesday, “It’s a little soupy out there today, but with the weather looking good, I think it will dry right out.”
Of course, wear and tear with early access is expected.
“We like to see the fields used. We are in a limited situation with the amount of field we have and it does take time for our fields to recover after a full season of usage,” said Barrett.
He added that between all of the town programs, fields are being used more than in recent years. In addition, people are asking for a higher quality of field.
They have responded by refurbishing Tainter Field, located behind the football field, for girls’ softball and summer men’s league. As part of that, the staff added Turface to the mound and infield on Tainter and Kelly Field, behind the tennis courts. Turface, a soil conditioner, is a polymer which traps water and releases it slowly to improve the durability and consistency of the mound. The small grains look like crushed chunks of clay, but they actually are a synthetic material.
“We’re interested to see how it will really work,” said Barrett.
Turface is used at Hadlock Field in Portland and many places in this region have added it into to their infields and mounds.
“Maybe next year we’ll add a little more,” Barrett said.
Legion Field, at the top of the hill, has refurbished chain link fenced dugout spaces and is expected to be used heavily for summertime night games.
The big addition though is the refurbishing of Tainter Field, named for Arthur E. Tainter Sr., former Sagadahoc County Sheriff and Commissioner. The field has new dugouts and has been improved greatly, according to Wil Laffely, Morse High School softball coach.
“We’re really looking forward to getting going there,” he said.
Cliff Hallowell, left, of the Bath Parks and Rec Dept. lines up the top bar of a new fence going in on a new “dugout” at Bath’s Softball Field, last week. After last week’s heavy rain, the crew went to work putting in a variety of additions to the fields for the spring season which will add quality to the surfaces and improve playing experiences.