Cadwell ready to host state tournamentLast year at this time, changes were being made at Cadwell Park right up until the start of the state amateur baseball tournament. This year, the pace isn’t so frantic. Monday night, longtime Mitchell Baseball Association member Jim Johnston said that a small group of people were working on general cleanup around the park and doing the little, last-minute preparations necessary for the 2009 state amateur tournament, which starts Wednesday at Cadwell Park.
By: Leah Rado, The Daily Republic
Last year at this time, changes were being made at Cadwell Park right up until the start of the state amateur baseball tournament.
This year, the pace isn’t so frantic.
Monday night, longtime Mitchell Baseball Association member Jim Johnston said that a small group of people were working on general cleanup around the park and doing the little, last-minute preparations necessary for the 2009 state amateur tournament, which starts Wednesday at Cadwell Park.
“Nothing major has changed this year,” said Johnston, who’s played a large role in getting ready for the state tournament. “We’re just doing general cleanup around the ball park and any last-minute stuff we need to do to help the park department.”
Some of that general cleanup Monday night included painting the picnic shelter, which was also painted last year; putting up a canopy over the spot where the Exchange Club will sell concessions and putting sheet rock up and doing a little painting in the press box.
Last year, the press box received a face lift as well as a new sound system to get ready for the state tournament, and the bathrooms at the field were also redone.
This year, Drake Field has seen the most improvement. New sidewalks were put from the entryway to the grandstand, a new public address system was put in, new bullpens were made and a press box and concession stand were constructed.
“We’ve put a lot of money into the main diamond (at Cadwell) and we made a decision a year ago that we need to start putting money into Drake Field to make a better facility for our teener kids,” Johnston said. “Money from the last year has been directed at Drake Field pretty much rather than the main baseball diamond.”
Johnston said that besides being a nicer facility for Mitchell’s teener teams, having a nice secondary field like Drake is also invaluable for hosting the state tournament. Having a second field allows games to be played on two fields instead of one in case of rescheduling due to rain. Johnston said the MBA invested around $2,000 in tarps this year to cover the field at Cadwell to protect it from rain and keep it in good playing condition should the need arise.
Having Drake Field accessible also gives teams a place to warm up before their games start.
“Teams can always warm up there, which is an advantage we have over Sioux Falls,” Johnston said. “Sioux Falls doesn’t have another field next to their main diamond.”
Having two good fields will also help when the Class A tournament makes its way to Mitchell next week. Traditionally, the Class A teams play at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. on the second Friday of the tournament. Johnston said West River teams complained about the early start time because it required them to stay overnight in Mitchell or get up very early to make the 10 a.m. game.
This year, two Class A games will be played at Drake Field starting at 1 and 3 p.m. A third Class A game will take place on the main diamond at Cadwell at 3 p.m.
“We’ve always had Drake Field as a secondary field in case we had rain,” Johnston said. “This year, Drake is a primary field because the association is impressed enough with the quality of it that they feel comfortable putting regular state tournament games on that field.”
Grounds crews will take care of the fields between games and innings, and Johnston said having a grounds crew like Cadwell does makes hosting a state tournament easier.
“The condition of the field isn’t even a concern,” he said. “We know because of the people that work out here this field is in great shape and that makes this job so much easier. We’re blessed to have these people out here.”
Like last year, the Exchange Club will sell concessions throughout the tournament. One new promotion this year will be sponsored by the South Dakota Beef Producers. Saturday, the organization will give away $1,500 worth of beef certificates in $10 increments. Johnston said 75 $10 gift certificates will be given away based on program numbers during Saturday’s afternoon session and 75 more will be given away at the night session.
Overall, Johnston said preparations for this year’s state tournament have gone smoothly.
“Every year it gets a little bit easier,” he said. “There’s fewer things to be concerned about every year because improvements have been made on a year basis.”