Jude Binkley staff writer
With their season quickly approaching, softball has been left without a field for this season. The field used in previous seasons was closed due to the demolishment of the decommissioned oil well on the athletic grounds. Practice continues; however, the girls face problems since both fields they have played on before, Roxbury Park and the main softball field, cannot be played on.
“Our field up by the upper basketball courts was placed under construction at the end of last year due to the oil fields,” Softball captain senior Estella Rosen said. “They [administration] said that it would take 290 days from that point when they originally closed it, and they did not start working on it until the beginning of this year. So they did not work on it at all over the summer break, which has postponed us now that we do not have a field to play on.”
Due to the closure of both fields, softball will be playing their season on the baseball field, which is a part of the main field on campus. Although there are several differences between the baseball field and softball field, the team is getting used to the disparities. The baseball field is on turf, a different playing surface than the dirt with which girls are familiar. The baseball field also has different baselines and plate distances as compared to softball, causing new holes to be drilled into the field for the softball bases.
“I think it’ll be interesting. Unfortunately, most of the fields that we are going to play on, as we travel to other schools, are dirt which affects obviously how the ball can be, just the speed at which the ball is going to go. I think it’ll go faster on on turf,” Rosen said.
The construction has also affected the boys baseball team, who will now be playing at La Cienega Park.
“I think it’s really unfortunate that teams at our school have to move around like this. I think they had an opportunity to fix our fields, and they slacked off and there’s a lot of miscommunication over that. And so I feel like we’re going to we’re kind of getting caught in the crossfire of this again, miscommunication between the district and our facilities,” Rosen said.
Tim Ellis, the first-year athletic director, explained why construction of the oil wells has taken longer than expected.
The construction was planned to be finished before the season started. The decommissioning of the oil well has taken longer than expected because of the nature of the actual individual wells that have to be capped. All efforts are to make sure that they are shut down safely,” Ellis said. “The process has been a lot more labor intensive than was originally predicted. Couple that with the amount of rain that has fallen this season and they are behind their original completion schedule.”
Ellis also explained that the construction taking place at Roxbury Park is out of the districts’ control, and the recent weather has played a park in delaying construction there as well due to the fact the fields are unable to be worked on while muddy.
Although the team has to make big adjustments to adapt to their new field, softball is still optimistic about the upcoming season after going 5-14 last year. Rosen hopes that a new wave of freshman and incoming players can launch the program to future success.
““I think this is going to affect our team, I think it’s gonna affect the teams that we play. It’s gonna affect the teams from out of our city that come here for tournaments,” Rosen said.
Softball’s season will kick off on Feb. 15 against Robert F. Kennedy Community.