On Tuesday evening, roughly 70 volunteers helped with needed renovations and upgrades to Stanley Post 20’s baseball field, located in Fort Pierre off State Highway 1806 and across the road from Dunes Golf Complex.
Members of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, SD Law Enforcement Training (LET), Stanley County Sheriff's Department, Fort Pierre City Council, American Legion, Post 20 and many others — including law enforcement from across the state — all lended a hand.
All volunteers showed up at the field at 5:00 and began working around 5:20.
“We stayed out there for about three hours and got everything completed that we were looking to have completed,” SD Highway Patrol Sergeant Chris Tedder said Wednesday. “Those guys did an unbelievable job. They did a great job all the way around.”
The field’s “chores” included fastening the fencing along both baselines and the outfield, as well as tidying up the outfield.
“So the fence line, they were actually tying in the guide wires, just to ensure that the fence was actually secured on the top and bottom. That's the reason why you saw them digging around the bottom as well,” Tedder said. “The people that were actually in the field, (they) were just picking up clots in the field and were just trying to pick up the harder clots, so they don't become a tripping hazard.”
Tedder, who is also an American Legion member and Post 20 assistant coach, added others cleaned the fence line by removing overgrown weeds.
“It was hard work. There's no doubt about it. Everybody did a great job,” he said. “And I just think it shows how the community and law enforcement can come together to actually achieve one goal.”
A brand-new batting cage stationed next to the field and along the third-base line was installed Tuesday as well.
Louis “Bud” Jorgensen and some of his providers donated the batting cage materials and also helped build the batting cage, Tedder mentioned.
“All we had to do was just set it in the ground and make sure it was level,” he said.
The SD Highway Patrol sergeant noted that the biggest concern that they needed to take care of was the outfield fence because it wasn’t properly secured, initially.
“That's the reason why we enlisted the LET students to actually come out and help us with that project right there,” Tedder said. “It was, actually, a really big project. Those guys helped out. Big kudos to those guys, too.”
Originally, the Fort Pierre baseball field was built two years ago. But since then, playing games on it has not been ideal due to the field’s previous condition.
American Legion member Reed Stoeser said the outfield had to be redone because the corner of right field was two-feet lower than the left-field corner. A sprinkler system had to be installed as well, watering outfield grass that was once struggling to grow.
These previous not-so-ideal conditions made hosting games difficult. Therefore, Post 20 had to schedule contests with Post 8 at various age levels, so Post 20’s players and coaches didn’t have to travel too far from home.
“We had to travel for every game we've ever played (for Post 20) because we did not have a home field,” Post 20 Board President Amy Brady said, whose son, Colton, has spent the past two-to-three years with the team.
She expressed her excitement for the improvements made to the field Tuesday.
“It's actually really exciting to see some projects getting done, getting the field up and operational,” she said. “We can actually host games on our field and have a home field.”
Stoeser and Kim Hallock helped resume construction of SC Post 20’s baseball diamond 10 years ago after work on the field had been started 35-40 years prior by others previously involved. Stoeser stated that their original plan of having four fields built on this piece of land is still in place.
But work on the other three won’t begin until the first is completely finished.
“We have a goal, and we want to do it,” Stoeser added. “We want to see this through for the community and for our legion.”
Tedder noted that upgrades to the current baseball field are “far (from) finished.”
“We have to get the bleachers for the field. We also have to get the lighting for the field,” he said. “At a later date, once the concrete is set up for the batting cage, we'll be out there actually setting up the net and doing some more maintenance to the batting cage area.”
Tedder said that there is no timetable for these remaining additions.
“We're just slowly working and just slowly chipping away at it,” he said.
However long the process takes, Tedder wants it done the right way.
“These baseball fields are for the community. These are for the kids,” he said. “If we build it right and we make it look good, people will start using it. And maybe that will inspire others to come out and help, and we can build more fields out there in the future.”
Tuesday’s labor came just in time for Post 20’s fundraiser Saturday, which has since been postponed to Jun. 3 due to inclement weather in the coming days.
The fundraiser will feature a 100-inning scrimmage of players, alumni, among others, hitting off a pitching machine. First-pitch is set for 8:45 a.m. and will last approximately eight hours, Brady said.
She noted that this event could be the very first of its kind in South Dakota.
“As far as we know, we have not heard of any other team in South Dakota doing this 100-inning game,” Brady said. “It is an event that is popular more in the south and over east.”
She added that the idea originated from Tedder, a Georgia native.
“The whole goal for Post 20 doing this outside, doing it as a fundraiser is to get started with fundraising. To build some funds, to be able to provide equipment and things for the team going forward,” Brady said.
“We wanted to draw awareness to the baseball program within the community, and get the community involved with the baseball program and supporting the kids,” she continued. “And showing the community that these kids really love baseball and need a field to call home so they have somewhere to practice.”
During the event, food and drinks will be provided for those participating and those in attendance.
Local businesses and community members can contribute to the fundraiser. Businesses that choose to make a donation will, in turn, have their sign posted around the field.
People can donate by making a flat fee donation or sponsoring a player.
“We have our baseball players going out and getting pledges for playing in this scrimmage game,” Brady said. “So someone can donate like 10 cents per inning that (that player) plays in that 100-inning game.”
Brady added that the game is open to anyone who wants to swing a bat or grab a glove.
“I just encourage the community to come out, have a little fun, support the kids, cheer them on and get involved. And play a little bit if you feel like dusting off your cleats and having a little fun yourself,” she said. “The more people we have participating, the more variety of people we have, I think the more fun it's going to be.”
Was the information in this article useful?
Thanks for the feedback.
Post a comment as anonymous
Watch this discussion.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.