New Albany Little League parts ways with old fields
The New Albany Little League has used two fields for thousands of games since 1953, but on Thursday, all that was left of those fields were four dugouts, a grass-lined infield, and countless memories.
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- The New Albany Little League has used two fields for thousands of games since 1953, but on Thursday, all that was left of those fields were four dugouts, a grass-lined infield, and countless memories.
The Little League Board has worked for about five years on a $3 million project that includes seven new fields on Charlestown Road that will be called Kevin Hammersmith Memorial Park.
The new fields will be used for both softball and baseball, while the old fields at Mount Tabor Park were only used for baseball.
Little League President Justin Endres said using the fields for both girls and boys will ease the struggle for parents trying to get children to multiple places in a short time.
However, he said the old Mount Tabor Park fields come with memories that cannot be replaced.
"I played here, my father played on these fields, a lot of generations have played on the fields," Justin Endres said.
Some of those memories come from players like Eric Endres and Caden Reed, who have played on the fields since they were four years old.
Eric Endres said his favorite memory is pitching the most strikeouts in his career.
Reed said his favorite memory is throwing the last strikeout in a game, which he vividly remembers as a "one, two slider, down and away."
It's a memory he now proudly displays on his dresser at home.
"I got this for fall ball. I knew we were playing here for the last game, and I saw it on the mound so I ran and picked it up," Reed said, looking at the dirty, game-used baseball in his hand.
Reed said he remembers seeing the ball and telling himself it would be something he could save for the rest of his life.
Now, he is able to look at the ball and remember playing at the Mount Tabor Park fields for eight exciting years of his life.
But now, nearly every piece of the field, from the dirt, to the fences, to a used restroom squeegee, was auctioned off to community members.
Safe Harbor Community Church Pastor Richard Poe bought the fencing from the fields with plans to use it to help fence in a daycare playground at his church, but the fence wasn't the only thing he purchased.
"We have a daycare over at our facility in Clarksville, and we were wanting to secure our perimeter a little better for the daycare," Poe said. "All of this fencing became available, so we were able to acquire most of that, and we also got some of the dugouts that went with the auction, so we're actually going to use some of the little boxes that they used to put their helmets and hats in."
Poe said the daycare has plans to refinish the boxes and use them for the little ones to put their belongings in.
Registration for the 2018 season at the new fields will begin Jan. 1, with opening day planned for April 7.
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