York ball fields’ drainage survives torrential rain

genegraham@comporium.netJuly 16, 2013 

— Rain has played havoc with youth baseball tournaments during the past two weeks, but coaches say York has done an outstanding job keeping its fields ready.

Organizers of the Dixie Boys 14-year-old All-Star District Tournament used Indian Land and Lancaster fields, depending on which was least saturated.

It was a different case for the Dixie Boys 13-year-old All-Star Tournament championship game, played at Optimist Park. The Rock Hill and Lancaster all-star teams were scheduled to play in the championship showdown, but coaches of both teams felt the Optimist Park playing surface would succumb to rainy conditions.

They were wrong.

“The Lancaster and Rock Hill coaches were amazed the championship game was played,” said Danny Mazzell, building and grounds supervisor for the York Parks and Recreation Department. “All of the games were completed in the district tournament.”

Keeping a proper drainage system doesn’t happen overnight, Mazzell said.

“Maintaining the fields is a year-round responsibility,” said Mazzell. “Laser beam treatment and field conditioning surface is part of the process. We aerate and soft drag the fields. We apply top dust every two years.”

Mazzell said 95 percent of the game is played in the infield, which is why the primary focus is devoted to that area.

The constant attention to the fields makes a difference, he said. “We can have a downpour and be ready to play in 20 to 30 minutes,” Mazzell said. “We hear compliments from coaches and umpires.”

Chris Stephenson, head coach of York’s Dixie Boys 14-year-old All-Star team, was pleased with York’s game-day readiness.

The York Rec all-stars experienced several game delays and cancelations that extended the district tournament into a second week in the Lancaster and Indian Land areas.

“When we compare York to others fields where we play, York’s fields are nicer,” said Stephenson. “They do a good job with field maintenance and the drainage system.”

Though spring and summer youth baseball and softball drawing to a close, it’s still business as usual for Mazzell and the grounds crew.

“You have to stay with it,” said Mazzell. “We are fortunate to have a field maintenance crew we can rely on.”

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