Libertyville baseball field upgrades are a big hit
Brian Quist, age 12, pitches at a newly improved Libertyville Little League baseball field at Butler Lake Park in Libertyville. | Mark Ukena~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 18, 2012 8:10AM
New dugouts and other improvements at one of the baseball fields at the Libertyville Little League complex at Butler Lake have been a bit hit among kids and fans.
The Libertyville Little League recently completed about $70,000 in upgrades at its AAA Field. Bill Bennett, president of Libertyville Little League, said before the field improvements were completed this spring the league was only able to use that field for 10-year-old games because of the size of the field dimensions and lack of foul space behind home plate.
With the improvements -- which include a revised backstop location and fencing and new base path dimensions -- the fields can be used for children between the ages of 10-12. “Now we can have another 150 kids in the 11- and 12-year-old age group that can play here,” Bennett said.
Last year, all of the 11- and 12-year-old games were played at the Majors Field and due to significant rainfall they had to cancel some games that they weren’t able to reschedule.
‘Out of the sun’
The most notable visual improvements at the field are the new partially sunken dugouts along the first- and third-base lines.
“The kids love the new dugouts,” said Bennett. “For us, it’s a safety issue because the kids stay in the dugouts and they’re out of the sun.”
Ken Markuson of Libertyville, whose 11-year-old son plays Little League baseball, said the new dugouts make the kids feel like they’re in the big leagues.
“It just makes them feel like they’re playing real grown-up baseball,” he said.
James Quigley of Green Oaks, whose 11-year-old son Giovani plays youth baseball, said the new partially sheltered dugouts also provide some protection for the players.
“It’s also nice in April because it gives them a little shelter from the wind or rain in inclement weather,” he said.
Brian Flanagan, 12, of Libertyville said he likes the improvements including the new dugouts.
“It’s better because it has a place to hold the bats, the gloves and stuff. It’s cleaner.”
Brian’s dad, Mike Flanagan, said the partially sunken dugouts also make it easier for spectators watching the game to see plate and action on the field.
Within the next couple years, the Little League organization plans to make other improvements including higher bleachers and a new public address sound system and elevated scoring booth, which will allow the scoreboard controller to announce the kids names as they come up to bat, Bennett said.
Funding for the field improvements came from the Little League’s capital fund, using a portion of the fees that parents pay for the program.