We had another great year at LYBSA! Our participation numbers continue to be strong in both our recreational and affiliate programs. We also hosted 5 tournaments this year and had higher participation in them than we did in 2013. With your help, the concession stand had another outstanding year, which has allowed us to maintain our registration fees for 2015.
Thanks to our partnership with the Township, we were also able to improve the safety of the park through the replacement of fencing on 6 backstops and several other repairs around the park. The Township has been a great partner over the last few years in helping us continue the park improvement project we began in 2011. It has been a hectic three years, but also an amazing transformation. We certainly could not have done it without our private donors and the township coming forward with additional funding.
Due to the success of the tournaments and the income they provide, we have had a very busy fall at the park! Here are some of the things we have accomplished in the last 3 months since the season was over:
Skin and rebuild of Field 7 - this is our U 12 baseball field. While the purist in us struggled with the idea of removing the grass infield, the reality is that it was in bad shape and needed to be replaced and we have such demand for softball fields, especially during tournaments, that it made sense for the league to make this a multi-use field, as it also has lights. As a compromise, we will be purchasing temporary mounds to use for baseball so they do not have to throw off the flat surface. This field will be another signature field for us this spring.
Re-configure Field 5 - this is our Pony baseball field. Those of you who have used this field in the last few years will have noticed a few issues: the base paths became a gathering place for water and had large dangerous lips along both sides, the infield had a depression all around the mound that provided an gathering place for water and was not a good playing surface, and the dirt fan of the infield was way too deep. We have now filled in the base paths and seeded them, so they will be grass just like the babe ruth and HS fields. We also added topsoil around the mound and seeded that, along with stripping out 15' of moondust at the back of the fan area and bringing in topsoil and seeding it. The grass has already begun to come in, so this should be in great shape by the spring.
Overseeding of field 5 & 6 infields - We overseeded the infields of Pony and Babe Ruth with Bluegrass this fall. This will provide a thicker shorter grass so that when we cut these shorter we will still have a nice green thick surface that won't be so long that a ball can't go through it.
Tee Ball re-configure - Our t-ball field is one of the busiest in the park, but had some drainage and lip issues. We have now stripped all the sod from outside both base lines, as well as another 18' around the outfield lip and have added some clay mix and conditioner so that this field will drain and play as well as any field in the park.
Conditioner program: As you are aware, we began a conditioner program last fall by adding calcined clay conditioner to 4 fields (same product used by most major league parks). This material serves two purposes: 1) moisture control - it holds moisture in the surface when conditions are dry and absorbs water during heavy rain and 2) helps reduce compaction issues on clay fields while helping prevent stone dust fields from becoming too powdery. This product allowed us to play many games last year that would have been cancelled without the conditioner. This fall, we finished the initial applcations (3-6 tons per field) of conditioner on the remaining fields. We will now move to more of a maintenance program with this product where we may add a ton per year on each of the larger fields and 1/2 ton on the smaller or as needed. This is an expensive product, but we feel it is worth it to provide the best possible playing surface for our kids.
Material moved/purchased by our volunteer board this fall:
90 tons of stone dust
90 tons of clay infield mix
110 tons of topsoil/sod
22 tons of calcined clay conditioner
Without the hundreds of hours put in by the board on these projects, and the income generated from our tournaments, we would have only been able to accomplish half as much. Thanks to the tireless dedication of our volunteers, we have been able to complete three years worth of our targeted field renovations in only two years.
We sincerely hope you take as much pride in our program and facilities as we do. While we do not claim to be perfect and we know we can always get better, we believe we have certainly made great strides over the past few years and hope you are enjoying all the improvements. We are also proud of the impact the program and park are having on our community through the thousands of people that come to town for our tournaments. Last year we hosted over 200 teams for our five tournaments, including teams from Indiana, Illinois, and as far away as Flint, MI.
We have been blessed by many private donations to help us purchase additional equipment and supplies. We are currently looking to replenish our conditioner supply, continue irrigation installation, finish construction on the back baseball pavilion and planning the addition of bull pens and outdoor batting cages. As the fiscal year winds down, if you know of anyone who may have funds left to invest in the community, just a reminder that we are a 501c3 organization and can always put that money to good use as we continue to improve the park.
We are looking forward to another great year in 2015!
2015 Tournaments hosted at LYBSA Facilities !
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME BASEBALL/SOFTBALL ???? (ok, we realize winter has just started)
It's never too early to begin planning your Travel and All Star tournament schedules for 2015.
Check back in December for online registration.
2015 Travel Tournament Dates
April 24-26: 2nd Annual Lakeshore Spring Thunder Invitational
May 15-17: NSA Softball Treasure Quest
June 5-7: NSA Softball Tournament (New)
June 12-14: 5th Annual West Michigan Invitational
2015 All Star Tournament Dates
June 29-July 5th: Baseball (Limited number of early games may be scheduled July 4th)
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