Correction: The Little League senior division will feature players 13-16 years old. The division will be a combination of players from Kingman North and Kingman South Little Leagues.
KINGMAN - The 12-foot trench down the first baseline of Field 2 at Southside Park could provide a more formidable challenge to a potential base runner than a pitcher trying to slap a tag on the runner.
The open trench is part of a new irrigation system, which in turn is part of an improvement project by the Kingman Parks and Recreation Department. When it's completed in the next couple of weeks, there will be in an additional regulation-size baseball field along with much needed improvements to Field 2.
"Every year we try to do improvements here at the park," said Parks Superintendent Guy Reynolds.
The exact figure for the costs of the improvements was not immediately available, but some estimates put the figure around $5,000, with all the funding coming from within the Parks and Recreation Department's maintenance budget. "There was no additional money," Reynolds said. "The money came from the budget."
Renovations on Field 2 began March 4 and will include a new irrigation system to replace a system that he called "very inadequate" in the infield along with fixing the existing irrigation system in the outfield so it will perform better.
While this work is being done, city crews and inmate labor will be aerating, reseeding and fertilizing the outfield grass.
Kingman South Little League president Oscar Lopez said he was told a few years back that the field has seen some 80 different types of grass in its 20-plus years of existence. Because of this, the outfield at times resembled a barren pastureland.
"A lot of improvements needed to be done," Lopez said. "Improvements needed to happen, especially the watering of the field. It's going to make it easy for the parks employees when they have to water the infield."
Southside Park's Field 2 is home to both Kingman South and North Little League junior division as well as the Kingman Academy High School and junior high baseball teams and Kingman Krush travel teams.
Because of the extensive use the field gets, there was a need for an additional regulation-size field complete with 90-foot base paths.
The parks department transformed Field 6 from a Little League field into a multi-purpose baseball field that is still able to host Little League's minor and major divisions and the junior division.
"It's going to help us out immensely," Lopez said.
The additional field will also help both Little Leagues reduce the length of night games. Some junior division games lasted as late as 11:30 p.m. The additional field will also help Kingman South this summer when they host the age 13-14 All Star Tournament.
"That is going to be a big plus," Lopez said. "We are not going to be out there as late."
Work crews pinned the field for base distances of 60, 70, 80 and 90 feet. KAHS baseball coach and Kingman Krush coordinator Bill McCord bought and donated a portable pitching mound. Lopez said his league will help McCord offset some of the cost.
"It's going be another 90-foot field in Kingman," McCord said. "We only had (Field 2). We have a lot of kids that play with us with the Krush teams and junior high teams.
"They can now play a regular game like they were supposed to from the right distances."
McCord and his Tigers baseball teams will get first crack at the new diamond Thursday when they host Southpointe in a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was postponed because of weather.
Crews began work on Field 6 on Feb. 11 after completing work on the Centennial Park softball diamonds. There, crews had to remove sod and repin the base paths in order to accommodate the Amateur Softball Association's new rule that all adult slow-pitch leagues except for seniors play with 70-foot base distances.
"Last year, it didn't get done, but the bases had to go back to 70 feet at Centennial to be able play in the ASA program," said Karen Fogg, Parks Department administrative assistant. "For many years, it was 65-foot bases and now it's 70, so they had to cut back all that turf to get those diamonds ready."
The transformation of Field 6 into a multi-use field is the latest way the department is being creative in order to accommodate the growing list of teams and leagues that use the city's parks.
"We only have 13 fields with close to 200 teams playing on them," Fogg said. "There is a demand for more fields."
Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article comment by:
I think the Kingman Parks and Recreation Department does an outstanding job of facilitating and coordinating the different Softball leagues that has become a staple for summer fun and socialization within our community. However, it would be nice to expand Kingman’s recreational facilities in a more diverse fashion where other activities could be enjoyed. I think Kingman could benefit from incorporating an outdoor Roller Hockey Rink which could serve many needs for our community. Lake Havasu City has one of these facilities at Sara Park where the community utilizes it for Inline Roller Hockey, Arena Soccer (“Indoor Soccer”), and Roller Derby. I have enjoyed this facility on many occasions and it is an awesome outlet for those members of the community seeking something different or new. With upwards of 800 recreational participants having been involved in the Northern Arizona Youth Soccer League I feel expanding our communities’ recreational soccer facilities has tremendous potential. Although we have designated soccer field’s available year around the goals and nets are removed leaving players without an essential piece of equipment to play so this alternative would be extremely beneficial. I would be willing to help coordinate this community effort if I could get into contact with the appropriate individuals to explore this exciting option for our community.
Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article comment by:
Correction on the Senior League. It will be for players 13-16 with a combination of players from North & South making up the teams. Registration for this program will start towards the middle of April. Please see our website and Facebook for more information Kingman Little League South. Kingman Little League South is also celebrating 60 years of Little League Baseball in the Kingman community. Thank you
[Admin: Thanks for pointing this out. The story has been updated.]