Careful scheduling keeps Cadwell pristineCadwell Park in Mitchell is one of the crown jewels of baseball in South Dakota, but keeping it that way means limiting the number of games on the field.
By: Chris Huber, The Daily Republic
Cadwell Park in Mitchell is one of the crown jewels of baseball in South Dakota, but keeping it that way means limiting the number of games on the field.
“If we want to keep a premier playing surface, you can’t wear it out, and that means we can’t play on it all the time,” said Mitchell Parks and Recreation Director Dusty Rodiek. “You have your clothes that you wear on Sunday when you go to church, and then you have your clothes you wear every day. It’s kind of like that.”
Cadwell Park will host 31 games in 12 days by the time the ongoing state amateur tournament is over. That’s about half the number of other games the field hosted the entire spring and summer before the tournament began.
“Knowing that we have the state amateur tournament coming to town, we will try to limit it a little more, just because of the time and effort that goes into getting this field ready,” said Cadwell Park field supervisor Chuck Jones.
The key to maintaining the pristine field is finding balance, according to Rodiek.
Between 65 and 70 games were played on Cadwell Park this summer before the state amateur tournament. The field also hosts practices for the Mitchell Legion and Mitchell amateur baseball teams. In the spring, the Mitchell High School baseball team used the field, along with Dakota Wesleyan University. The Mitchell Legion team played all but two of its home games at Cadwell this year.
Across the parking lot, Drake Field hosted 86 games this summer and the four Mitchell teener teams played almost exclusively on that field. The field also hosted a handful of Legion and amateur games.
“If we limit it a little more for the younger kids, we not only keep the field in better condition, but as the kids grow they say ‘That’s where I want to be,’” Jones said. “And I think they appreciate it a little more when they do get a chance to play here.”
He doesn’t foresee a time when teener teams will be allowed to play extensively at Cadwell Park.
“We try to get them a game or two over here, but to do a full-blown teener schedule over here, I don’t see that happening,” Jones said. “This year we had four teener teams and just the schedule alone would be tough to figure out, plus the wear and tear on the field.”
The Mitchell Baseball Association works with Jones and the city to make the schedule for the ballparks throughout the year.
Rodiek said the relationship between the city and the association is working well and he sees no reason to change.
“In the end we all want the same thing: a very nice field that gets used but not abused,” Rodiek said. “And I think we have done that.”