Lindsay little league baseball stays at home base

Lindsey’s Olive Bowl Park undergoes maintenance on its south baseball field.(Kenny Goodman)

Despite concerns about Lindsay Youth Softball and Baseball’s cancellation this season due to the closure of Olive Bowl Park, city of Lindsay confirms the park is open for use

LINDSAY – After some speculations that Lindsay little league baseball was struck out of its playing field this year due to some maintenance projects at Olive Bowl Park, the city has clarified the season will run its course and maintenance will take place once it’s over.

Initially, Lindsay community members expressed outrage at the city council meeting on Feb. 8 regarding the closure of Lindsay’s Olive Bowl Park, which is where all little league baseball occurs in the community. The reason behind this closure is due to some maintenance projects that are in line to occur at the park, which were suspected to occur during baseball season.

However, on Feb. 13 the city responded to the community by letting them know that the baseball fields are open for Lindsay Youth Softball and Baseball.

“At the end of the day, it was all miscommunication,” Acting City Manager Armando da Silva said in written statements to The Sun-Gazette. “I believe Lindsay Youth Softball and Baseball (LYSB) was in communication with someone with the city, but the message never was relayed to the correct persons.  We found out through a Facebook post that the city was being blamed for no softball and baseball.”

During the Feb. 13 council meeting, it was confirmed by the city planner that the maintenance of the baseball fields – which the community suspected the fields were closed for – would not take place until after little league is over.

“By the time they’re ready to start (maintenance), they are going to be breaking ground – if everything goes according to plan – in August,” city planner Neyba Amezcua said.

Da Silva explained the city’s recreation department typically handles the rental of the fields and communicates with city services to ensure the facility is cleaned up and safe for LYSB. After hearing about the community response, he said he had a city employee reach out to someone from LYSB to figure out what was going on.

After setting up a meeting with the LYSB president to figure out the situation, the city and LYSB are now working together to provide little league for the community.

The Lindsay Recreation Department also shared on their Facebook page they are preparing the baseball and softball fields for the upcoming season.

“(The) city services maintenance crew have been hard at work mowing, removing dead trees, gopher control, infield maintenance and so much more at the Olive Bowl in preparation for Lindsay Youth Softball Baseball spring season,” the department posted on their Facebook.

As of report, it is unclear exactly what maintenance changes need to be made to the fields.

Initial public outrage

When the community was under the impression the fields would not be available for kids baseball, they were quick to express their disappointment at the Lindsay council meeting on Feb. 8. They also brought up some other complications they are facing when it comes to getting little league together, as well as a bit of the recent history behind little league in Lindsay.

Linsdey’s Olive Bowl Park main gate. (Kenny Goodman)

One member of the community named Wendy – who stated she was the treasurer, founder and vice president of little league in Lindsay – explained that she had to fight to get access to the Olive Bowl back in 2017 when little league was first started in Lindsay. She said the community has gone through great lengths to keep baseball going, drawing attention to the fact that the price to use the fields has increased significantly in recent years.

“We were told this next season was going to be $80 a day per field. There are three fields on Olive Bowl. We have 17 teams to accommodate. That’s the only place Lindsay that we can do it. That is such an outrageous price,” Wendy said. “That’s about $8,200 to use the field with registrations.”

She continued to explain all of the work the community has put into raising money to make little league happen, as they are still struggling to cover the costs of the fields.

“We brought in $9,600 last year and registration,” Wendy said. “$6,000 of (the money) went to uniforms, another $1,000 (to cover) a million dollar liability for these kids to be insured. The snack bar (charged) a concession fee for this upcoming season. There’s no money left to provide for his kids to play baseball.”

Wendy said if the fields were not available for use then the kids would have to go to Exeter for baseball, which would create an issue as not all the children have access to transportation to stay involved in sports. She ended her statements by saying that the parents are willing to maintain the fields themselves if the city is willing to let them into the Olive Bowl.

“Just give us the keys. We’ll do the legwork…We already chalk it, drag the fields, we pay for chalk and clean the bathrooms and pick up the trash…We have a lot of parents’ support and we just need baseball to continue,” she said.

Community member Steven Richardson raised concern that, without the option of baseball to occupy their time, there is potential for them to turn to more dangerous forms of entertainment such as drug use. Overall, various residents went to council and city staff to ask that they figure out some way to keep little league going for the community’s children.

Ultimately, the issue was quickly resolved, as the city announced shortly after the situation that little league baseball would remain in Olive Bowl Park.

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