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Field re-do’s real weather beaters

Tue., April 26, 2011

You can’t change the weather, so Coeur d’Alene and Lake City have changed their infields to better cope with Mother Nature’s wrath.

Coeur d’Alene did its remake two weekends ago, finishing the project just in time to entertain rival Lake City.

The Timberwolves started working on their field last October and it was ready to go prior to the season. The results have been favorable for LC, which hasn’t canceled a home game despite facing a steady dose of lousy spring weather.

At CdA, coach Larry Bieber isn’t going to miss seeing “Lake Bieber.” That’s what he called the pond that would form near first base following rain showers. After a long weekend of graders and rollers removing and hauling in dirt, the Vikings finished tidying up Larry Schwenke Field roughly two hours before taking on Lake City in a game the Timberwolves won 9-0.

“We called it the field of dreams because we never dreamed we’d get it done in time,” Bieber said. “We peeled the sod back, drew out all the dirt, brought in 18 yards of dirt and with the old dirt we made a bullpen.”

“We had a guy come in to figure out the grade and we found out home plate was seven inches higher than the (pitcher’s) circle. So we’ve been pitching uphill for 15 years. It was a monumental task and a lot of people donated time and equipment.”

CdA used a 30-70 dirt-to-sand ratio before adding a top dressing. Nine drain-field holes were dug into the infield. Bieber said the Vikings had burned up a couple of shop vacuums and sump pumps before rebuilding the infield.

Lake City did the majority of the work on its infield, installing a drainage system and leveling the outfield in the off season, but the process continues.

“Our field from the first year we opened has never really been level,” coach Laura Tolzmann said. “It’s been ‘Lake Shortstop’ since the school opened. It was time to fix it and level it out. We brought in new dirt and it’s taken some time to blend the red dirt with the old.”

Volunteers put in numerous hours. Players pick enough rocks to fill a cup after each practice.

“Our infield is very well mixed and dragged,” Tolzmann said. “It’s been able to drain a lot better and it holds up better. We’ve hardly had any bad hops at all.”

GSL showdown

University has reeled off eight straight wins since a 5-4 loss to Mead to take over the top spot in the Greater Spokane League standings. Mead, after going 2-2 last week, is tied for second with Mt. Spokane at 8-3, two games behind U-Hi. Mead visits University today at 4 p.m.

“In this little stretch, we’ve pitched pretty darn well and played good defense,” Titans coach Jon Schuh said. “And the girls that are playing new spots are getting more and more comfortable.”

Brittany Connor leads the GSL with a .593 batting average. Pitchers Devynne Johnson is 7-1 and Brittany Hecker is 3-0.

A head-shaker

The score itself – North Central 23, Rogers 10 – raised an eyebrow. A closer examination of the box score revealed one wild game: 33 runs, 42 hits, 21 errors, 11 walks and one batter hit by a pitch.

“We played in a total blizzard through five innings (last Monday) until umpire John Isles called it because he could no longer see,” Rogers coach Cris Coffield said. “There were snowflakes fogging up his glasses.”

The game resumed Wednesday and North Central put up 10 runs in the last two innings to pull away. NC’s Morgan Mays, Kilee Brown and Christian Hill-Erickson each had five hits. Makena Dodd and Sara Anthony each had three hits for the Pirates.

Notable efforts

Unbeaten Lakeside took over solo first place in the Northeast A with a 5-4 victory over Colville, scoring the winning run in the ninth inning. Vanessa Ahrendt pitched a complete game to get the win. … Shadle Park won three straight last week before getting thumped by University 16-5. In the Highlanders’ 15-0 win over Gonzaga Prep, Alanna Norman, Kaycee Perisho, Megan Skillingstad and Ashley Collins hit home runs. U-Hi’s Andrea Fitzsimmons and Breann Warren homered and Jordan Schmerer and Morgan Voelker each had three hits in the victory over Shadle Park. … Baily Riggin had three triples and nine RBIs, Hunter Allen went 5 for 6 and Hannah Herndon 5 for 7 to help East Valley defeat Pullman 14-3 and 19-5. … Jenna Hoffman belted two homers as Timberlake (4-0 Intermountain League) finished off a sweep with a 14-1 win over Kellogg. … Ashley Metcalf pitched a pair of shutouts and came within one out of a five-inning perfect game before walking a batter as Lakeland (4-0 IEL 4A) swept Moscow.

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