October 17 - After it had to move its practices and home games off campus last spring, it appears Hayfield will be getting its yard back for the 2020 season.
Constant wet conditions on the Hawks’ field began last fall and when a solution couldn’t be found, a decision was made late in the winter to shift the program’s practices and home games 10 miles southwest to the turf field at South County Middle School. This spring, a conclusion was made that an entire new playing surface would need to be installed.
“After being on a field for so many years, you get an idea of how wet it should be after it rains,” Hayfield coach Mike Shore said. “Me and my assistant coaches were like, ‘Why isn’t it dry? It’s still wet’. I suspect the biggest reason is that we’re lowest part of our campus, and I think the Bermuda grass just got so sick and dense that the water had nowhere to drain. It just sat like a lake.”
After months of planning, work started earlier this week, with Game Day Inc. working from early each morning to tear out the old playing surface, level the grounds, and now begin the process of laying sod and cutting out where the dirt will remain. All told, Shore said the project will cost in the neighborhood of $65,000.
The Hawks’ new field will be ready for them to get back on in time for tryouts in February. In the meantime, Shore said they have access once a week to practice at South County Middle School while continuing their offseason weight training program. The program also has access to indoor batting cages that were installed in the school’s auxiliary gymnasium.
Shore credits the work and support of his director of student activities, E.W. Nowland, and principal, Ed Grimm, along with Fairfax County Public School’s DSA, Bill Curran, with pushing the process through to ensure the Hawks would be back on their field next season.
“They’ve been nothing but great and supportive through the whole process,” the coach said. “[Nowland] did a good job keeping me in the loop as best as he could.”
Shore indicated the renovation may include moving the outfield fence in several feet from left-center field to right-center field to allow for a better drainage system to be installed. If that is the case, a higher fence would be needed. The field’s current dimensions are 330 feet down both lines, 345 feet to the gaps and 370 feet to center.
“The kids are excited, they’ve been excited, and I’m getting excited that they’re actually here working on it so we can see some progress,” Shore said. “I’ve had some parents reaching out saying they’ve been driving by and seeing the work done and asking if there’s anything they can do.
“There has been a lot of excitement and that will only grow as things get closer to be completed.”
Photos courtesy of Hayfield Baseball