'It's just nice to be home'
The Washington softball team was going to play its first game on its new field on Tuesday come you-know-what or high water.
And high water is just what head coach Angie Shrader found when she got to the field.
After two rounds of rain on Tuesday morning, there was standing water on the pitcher’s circle, as well as a small lake behind home plate.
But Shrader’s team needed to play. The Demons had played just nine games — all on the road — over the first two weeks of the season. Many other area teams had already played between a dozen and 18 games. So Shrader set to work.
With a little help from Shawn Ellingson, the father of Washington’s centerfielder, Shrader dragged the field. Then she raked. Then she dragged and raked the field again. And then a third time. She spent nearly two hours preening the field on Tuesday afternoon to make it playable for the Demons’ doubleheader against Fairfield.
The field looked immaculate for its first game. The infield was smooth and only a little damp, and the outfield, despite being a little soggy, was playable. Everything about the field is brand new, including the dugouts, press box and fences. The only eyesore is the muddy terrain that surrounds the field. But grass will be planted eventually when it stops raining for a few days.
Washington’s softball field used to be located right next to the baseball field behind the junior high school. But it was displaced by the construction of the new high school and had to be rebuilt just south of the junior high.
Although the field was ready by the start of softball season, the dugouts, bleachers and press box were nowhere to be seen. In fact, the team had no place to store its gear during the first weeks of practice, so it was kept in the back of a pickup truck. With the field not ready for competition, the Demons’ early-season games were scheduled to be played on the road.
Still, Washington was supposed to play its home opener against Fairfield on June 2. It rained. Then the Demons were scheduled to play Mt. Pleasant at home on June 9. It rained again. Shrader wondered if Mother Nature hated her softball team.
So when the clouds finally parted for a few hours, Shrader was determined to play on Tuesday night. She worked very hard to get the field ready, and she was rewarded for her efforts.
The Demons swept Fairfield in their first games on the new field, winning by scores of 9-3 and 12-10. It was worth the wait.
“We got that first home game out of the way so that now we can get back to our normal routine,” said Shrader, whose team will play seven more home games before the end of the week. “Yesterday we got all our stuff put back to where it was before on our other field. It’s just nice for kids to know where things are now. It’s just nice to be home.”