HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
July 30, 2007

Campbell Field is looking good

By Aaron Schultz

Do this and do that. Have a meeting to discuss more things to do. See a bunch of stuff not get done. Time is winding down.

Yep, getting the Region 7C tournament was the simple part, it has been getting the field ready to go that has taken some serious time.

And no, not by me. I have done a few things, but nothing in comparison to what a few individuals have done to help the Winsted Wildcats get Denis M. Campbell Field ready to go.

By now I am sure some of you are scratching your heads and wondering what in the bleep I am exactly talking about.

Let’s start from the beginning, which would be this winter.

Every year, the Region 7C tournament, which is made up entirely of Crow River Valley League teams (11 this year), goes to a different team.

One year, like last year when it was in Norwood, it will be a South Division team that gets to host it.

Then, the next, a North Division team gets the nod. This year, in Winsted.

Usually, league members attempt to rotate it around so that every team that has a field worthy of hosting the tourney gets its fair shake.

To date, there have been several teams in the Crow that have yet to host a Region 7C tournament since its inception.

Those teams are Cologne, Young America, New Germany, and St. Boni.

Some haven’t gotten to host it because they don’t have a grass infield, and others because the fences are too short.

Whatever the reason may be, this year, the Wildcats knew that we were up to host the tournament. That was unless St. Boni, which has never hosted it, wanted the tourney.

Well, they didn’t go for it, so we took it.

The last, and only, time we, in Winsted, hosted the Region 7C tournament was in 1999.

Since that time, Glencoe, Watertown, and Mayer have all hosted in the North.

Anyways, this year was our turn, but there was some hesitation by some members of the Wildcats if we should take it.

Our field wasn’t in the best of shape, and a bunch of work would need to be done.

The biggest problem, the problem that led to many doubts for some of us, was the outfield.

Over the years, it had been used as a practice field for the Holy Trinity Trojans of Winsted football team.

Which, in turn, tore the field up pretty good.

Then, when spring came around, it was never in that great of shape.

Last year was the first year in some time that it wasn’t used for football, which helped.

But still, the outfield was Denis M. Campbell Field’s biggest problem.

So, after some discussion, we decided to go ahead and take the Region 7C tournament, but a bunch of work was needed.

This winter, at a Wildcats board meeting, field improvements that were needed were lined up.

They included: re-seeding the outfield, fixing the warning track, getting the infield into the best shape possible, getting tile in front of the dugouts, laying down sprinkler lines, and putting in some nice seating down the third base line (into the hill).

Throughout the course of the spring, we found out there wasn’t going to be enough money for the seating on the hill. Not a huge deal.

Then, as the spring and summer moved on, it turned out that no tiling or sprinkler heads were going to be put in.

That kind of stunk.

The reason it didn’t get done was simple lack of manpower.

In this whole process, the City of Winsted has been very helpful, but there are only so many volunteers around.

No big deal though. As long as we were able to get the field looking good, those things we missed out on weren’t going to hurt us.

Then, Mother Nature stepped in and gave us a body blow – no rain.

We reseeded the outfield, and have been fertilizing the heck out of the infield.

While no rain hasn’t hurt the infield (that we can get plenty of water on with regular sprinklers), the outfield was like concrete.

During our last regular season game of the year (July 15 against Mayer), ground balls actually picked up speed when the hit the outfield grass. And I use the word “grass” very loosely.

Something needed to be done. So, with the help of the City of Winsted, the Winsted Fire Department, and volunteer Kendall Schultz, we were able to get the big water cannon out there.

In just over two weeks time, it has made a huge difference already.

The whole outfield is much softer, and turning somewhat green.

Along with that, we will be putting some additional fertilizers (not sure of all the basics) that should green it all up by the weekend, when the tournament starts.

Besides all the grass improvements, we also put down three big piles of fill into the infield, and edged the grass, and are bringing in some bigger bleachers, planting numerous flowers, and will be sprucing up the dugouts this week.

By the time Saturday comes, Denis M. Campbell Field should be looking as good as it has in a long time.

While there have been many people who have put time into getting the field ready for regions, the field wouldn’t even be close to looking as good as it is going to be without Kendall Schultz and Soup Campbell.

Those two guys have put countless hours into the field, especially over the past month.

But others, including Fran and Carol Kappel, Chuck Schultz, Tom Ollig, Chris Schultz, Bruce Johnson, and Bill Norman, have also all done their parts.

Alright, I’m sure I am missing a name or three from that list. So, sorry ahead of time to those that I left off.

Many more volunteers will be needed over the course of the next two weekends, helping with field work, selling food, and working in the stand.

All of those who help with those duties are also the unsung heros.

No matter how nice we get the field, without all the other help – like Ralph Prehn and Dick Norman doing the announcing, or Gerald Ide running the scoreboard – the Wildcats wouldn’t be able to pull off a successful region tourney.

So, ahead of time, I would like to thank all of you that will be coming out and helping with the tourney.

Yep, the field is coming together, and the Wildcats are going to be playing in the tournament at their home park, in front of a huge crowd (I hope).

Come on out to the ballpark over the next two weekends, see how good the field is looking, catch some good baseball, and cheer on the Wildcats.