Field Of Dreams Gets Some Pre-Tournament TLC

Published 3:05 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2013

FARMVILLE – Though it may not be the radical changes described in The Farmville Herald nearly a year ago, fans that will show up to the Field of Dreams Complex for next month's Dixie Youth Baseball State Tournaments will see some improvements.

“We'll be ready,” said PEFYA At-Large Board Member and Baseball Commissioner Bruce Davis. “I think we're going to put on a good show. We've had a lot of good help from the community, and I think we'll show Farmville and the area in a good light.”

One of the most visible changes to the facility is the installation of four sets of bleachers along both base lines. Workers from the Town of Farmville were busy installing the new bleachers on Friday afternoon. Those, in addition to the stands already in use, will be put to the test on the tournament's opening day, July 19.

Email newsletter signup

“We're expecting the crowd to swell to around 2,000 people for Friday's opening ceremonies,” said Davis. “We can handle that size of a crowd. We're able to use the lots around the complex for auxiliary parking, and members from Calvary Church will be providing golf cart rides from those lots to the gate, for anyone who may need assistance.”

Once seated fans may also notice the installation of a state-of-the-art sound system.

“It will be completely wireless, and the best part, nobody will have to scream.”

Also being installed is an irrigation system with a hook-up inside the fence area. In the past when the field crew needed to wet down the infield, a hose had to be passed around spectators and through the fence.

“Hopefully that will speed things up a bit. The first two or three days of these tournaments can run way behind, and anything we can do to shave a few minutes here or there in between games can really add up.”

The one thing that Davis would've liked to have done was to extend the fences on the Major League field. The dimensions of both fields are 180 feet all the way around, and there will be no double fence installed.

Expect to see more home runs hit over the course of the weekend.

“We thought about moving the Major League to Rocky Yard (the larger field at the back of the complex), but we couldn't get it to work out logistically. We would've had to do a lot of work just to get it in presentable shape, where here, the actual fields are in as good of a shape as they have ever been. Our grounds crew has done a good job of keeping the fields in shape all spring, and we've had a little more help than usual from the rain, as well.

“About the only thing we have to do on the field right now is to build up the mound a little. We have some of the higher mounds around, and hopefully, that will help give the pitchers a little more advantage to counter the short fences.”

Planning for the tournaments began a year ago. For 12 months, the focus has been on one thing – the kids.

“This tournament is going to be kid-centered,” said Davis. “They're why we're here. It's not about any of the adults.”

PEFYA alumnus Kyri Washington, who just completed his freshman year at Longwood University as a member of the baseball team, will throw out the first pitch during Friday's Opening Ceremonies.

“He was with the organization from T-Ball, and went up through the system. We couldn't think of a better person to have to throw out the first pitch. It will show the kids that if you work hard, you can make it to Division I baseball.

“Everything is going to be about the kids. We'll have a kid sing the National Anthem and doing introductions.”

Davis has one piece of advice for folks planing to come to the festivities.

“Come hungry. Ralph Dews will have a selection that can compete with anyone, and nobody is going to beat the prices. We'll have everything you can get at a normal baseball game. Well, everything except beer,” Davis joked. “Maybe if we can get one or both of our teams into the World Series, the adults can meet somewhere to celebrate that.”