December 2, 2021

Little League fields get needed makeover

Home run for Homer

Shenandoah Briere/staff reporter

Kevin Reese, with the Homer Village Streets and Parks Department, shows where the underground wiring was put at the the two main diamonds at Griggs Field Complex. Homer Little League spent $26,800 on upgrades to the the four diamonds at the complex. The wiring to the two main fields will allow for a pitching machine to be used.

An update to the Little League fields in Homer means safer diamonds to play on, which meet regulations and provide the league with a better chance to host tournaments.

“The fields have been maintained fairly well, but over time — like anything else — it’s had its wear and tear,” said Kevin Reese, the groundskeeper of the fields, which are on Hudson Street just off of Route 281.

It had been at least 15 year since the fields had been updated, said Zack Pollak, the director of village recreation departments. And with the four fields in use almost every day from April until late into July and then again for a fall ball league, it was much needed. Pollack said at Vosburg Field if the pitcher had walked just a few steps off the mound, he would end up in a foot-deep hole.

“It was long overdue, it looks great,” Reese said.

Homer Little League used $26,800 in local grants to update the diamonds on all four fields at the complex and add electricity to the pitching mounds on Falter and Vosburg Fields so a pitching machine can be hooked up for practice and warmups.

Falter Field — which is the main Little League Field — also got a mound that can accommodate both Little League
games and a younger kid league. The field also meets Little League standards.

Netting was also put behind the back stops to catch foul balls and more netting will be added to the fields over the next year or so to increase safety of people watching the games.

The work was done by Greenskeeper Landscaping of Endicott.

“Kudos to Tony Pittarelli and his team for a job well done,” Reese said.

The league began working on a capital campaign, getting grants and raising funds, more than a year ago and has raised more than $40,000, said Brian Rizzo, the diamond and rookie division director for the league. The league is still waiting to hear on a few more grants and has a Go-FundMe campaign to help cover more projects, including batting cages and a new scoreboard.

“It’s kind of an effort to keep upgrading things,” he said.

The updates also mean the league has better chance to host tournaments because the fields meet regulation.

“While the village owns the fields Little League runs the program, but residents don’t really draw a distinction, they see it really all as one thing,” said village Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe. “If the fields are in rough shape it reflects poorly on the village and we don’t want that obviously. We have a great recreation program here and we want it to reflect as such.”

“It’s been a long time coming and it’s good to see everybody working together to make it happen,” Deputy Mayor Patrick Clune added. “These are well-needed improvements.”