Archive for Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home sweet home for BLHS baseball

New sod, bleachers and scoreboard among highlights at on-campus field

August 19, 2010

Basehor-Linwood High School continued its baseball field renovations this summer, and coach David Svoboda said he believes the school might have one of the best fields in the Kaw Valley League.

This is cause for celebration in Bobcat country as the school is nearing completion on a project that has been years in the making.

For a few years, Basehor-Linwood baseball players didn’t have an on-campus field to play games on. BLHS started playing home games a couple seasons ago, without permanent bleachers or a scoreboard.

The infield has been re-graded for drainage purposes, and Svoboda said he expects it to decrease the amount of time it takes for the field to drain and be playable after it rains.

“We lost too many games to rain last year, so it was obvious that the grading needed to be redone, and that better material on the dirt portion of the infield itself was also a key,” he said. “Now, with what has been done this summer, we’ve taken an already great field and made it that much better.”

Sod is being installed on the infield in September, and the pitching mound is being redone.

Three sets of bleachers also are being installed.

Svoboda said he hopes to add a warning track in the outfield in the future, and said the field is getting into the shape he hoped it would.

“As for where we want or need to be as to having a field we can all be extremely proud of, you bet,” Svoboda said. “We’re there.”

Last summer’s upgrades were a facelift, like moving into a house and then making changes in the decorating. The foundation, though, was laid four years ago when the excavating work on the project began.

“The original work that got us going on the project by Miles Excavating four years ago was the foundation of our house, so to speak,” Svoboda said. “What we’ve done this summer is what a home owner does to a new home — enhances it to make it even better. What the people at LeRoy’s Sports Fields of Leavenworth were able to do this summer with the re-grading and what VanFleet Excavating did with the addition of the new ‘sugar clay’ infield mix is bring the playing surface to another level. Now, with the sod scheduled to be laid on the infield in early fall, we’ll have an infield that will be one of the best in the league, if not the best. And that’s what we all want.”

Volunteer efforts have enabled the field improvements to occur, Svoboda added.

Joe Keeler, Basehor-Linwood athletics director, has played a pivotal role in the project and helped make a lot of great things happen during Svoboda’s tenure.

“Take the work done by LeRoy’s Sports Fields and Van Fleet Excavating and add it to what Steve Miles started, and you have an unbeatable combination,” Svoboda said. “And these are all Leavenworth County businesses working on a Leavenworth County project. That’s important.”

A new scoreboard has been put in at the baseball stadium.

The scoreboard is named in memory of the late Joshua Gaffney, whose family played a role in installing the board. Community National Bank sponsored the baseball scoreboard, and First State Bank has sponsored the scoreboard on the new softball field.

“Joshua passed away in an auto accident a few summers back, and his family made the scoreboard a priority,” Svoboda said. “It’s neat that we’ll be able to remember him in this way. And Community National and First State are such solid community patrons. You can’t do any of this without them.”

With the recent success on the fields and numerous improvements to the school’s athletic facilities, it is a special time at Basehor-Linwood.

“Those of us who are coaches at BLHS right now are extremely blessed, and not just for the reasons that are visible,” Svoboda said. “The new football field, new track and field facilities, new health and wellness center, and baseball and softball facilities approaching completion are all fantastic for our kids, our school and our community. But without the people behind the brick and mortar, those things are really empty. And we have a school board, district administration, building administration and overall coaching staff that really ‘gets it.’ We’re here for the kids, love what we do and really take care for each other like family. I challenge any school in the state to match that combination.”

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