Softball field improvements: not home run but close

Max Goldberg, Feature Editor

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Despite what sport an athlete plays, all of them play on some sort of surface. Whether it’s running on a track, playing lacrosse, soccer, or football on the turf, or baseball or softball on the diamonds, all sports use surfaces. However, some of these fields need some improvement.

The first field to receive an improvement is the main softball field. In the weeks after spring break, a new playing surface was added to the infield and the backstop was changed from a chain-link fence to brick, similar to the one at the baseball field.

“The new improvements are really nice,” said senior right fielder Danielle Celeslie.

Even though these new additions help make the field look better, there are practical values as well.

“The brick backstop looks great, and really helps the catcher in keeping the opposing team from scoring,” said Celeslie. In softball, if the ball is dropped by the catcher and goes behind them, runners on bases can steal another base while the catcher tries to rescue the ball.

“[The backstop] keeps players from stealing home because the ball bounces back faster,” said senior center fielder Melissa Obis.

The other major improvements to the infield are more of a help to the team as a whole, and not the individual players.

According to head coach Jason Schaal, prior to the new dirt on the infield, they would have to cancel games due to rain water flooding the infield. This new surface holds water better, allowing more games to be played after rainy weather.

However, according to the players, there are still some major improvements they would like to see added to the softball field.

“It would be nice if we were able to move the fence back,” said Celesile. “We have one of the shortest fences.”

“Right now [the fence] is really close, and so moving it back would decrease homeruns,” said Obis.

Currently, the fence sits 185 feet from the home plate. Other fields in the conference reach up to 200 feet. This not only provides an opposing team a better chance of scoring, but provides problems when the team travels to a field with a 200-foot field.

“We aren’t used to playing with that kind of fence, so it affects our play,” said Celesile. “Being on a bigger field means we have to go out further, so it affects our defense.”

Despite the fence, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) still recognizes the GCHS softball field as one of the best fields in the conference, and these improvements will only reinforce that as the team hosts sectionals this year.

“We’re definitely on the right track [of improving the softball field],” said Schaal.

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Softball field improvements: not home run but close