CANOVA -- Canova is pumping more money into its beloved baseball field.
Canova -- a community synonymous with small town baseball in South Dakota -- is adding artificial turf to the Gang’s home field. The turf will be installed on the pitcher’s mound, home plate, walkways from dugouts to home plate, in front of the dugouts, coaches boxes and around the backstop.
“It should doll it up quick a bit,” Canova’s long-time manager Dave Gassman said.
The project, which will cost roughly $25,000, starts next week and should be completed in four-to-five days, said Gassman. In 2015 and 2016, Canova also installed a new concession stand, lights, dugouts, a backstop, grandstand bleachers, a press box and a sprinkler system. The ballpark was also netted from dugout to dugout and a shelter area was built next to the concession stand. Those upgrades cost roughly $90,000.
The current artificial turf will be installed by a company in Oklahoma. Gassman added Canova considered installing turf to the whole infield this year, but that’s a project it will consider down the road.
Nevertheless, the current artificial turf installation is much needed for the field.
“It’s in constant use and wear and tear on the infield has really made a difference on our grass,” Gassman said. “It’s kind of wearing in spots. We’ve kind of decided it was time to do something that was more permanent. But also saving time and preparation time, especially when we are hosting the tournaments.”
In addition to hosting the Gang’s home amateur baseball games, Canova is hosting the Class B 16U tournament on July 31-Aug. 2.
“We hope to host many in the future,” Gassman said about tournaments. “But this is something we have been considering for quite a while now and just decided to go with it.”
Canova, which has roughly 100 people, comes alive during the baseball season. Canova has won five state amateur baseball titles, winning the most recent one in 2018.
There are two youth baseball fields at the same site and all three fields help baseball boom in the tiny town. Canova has multiple teams across the all levels and they’re all regularly playing during the summer.
“It’s a busy area at night,” Gassman said. “Most nights we have two or three games or practices. It’s just about every night there’s something going on down there.”