Booker T. Washington raising funds for necessary baseball field upgrades

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — America’s favorite pastime is in jeopardy at a local high school. The Booker T. Washington baseball field in Norfolk is not up to regulation.

It’s a costly project, with a price tag in the ballpark of $10,000. 

Right now when students for baseball or softball teams play home games, they are bused to the Azalea Little League fields. 

Well, coaches and students are ready to play on their own soil again.

This has been going on for the last three years, but leaders with the school want you to know they are working to get their teams back home.

But don’t expect any games to be played on their home diamond any time soon.

“The national standard, the minimal standard down the line are 310, and in center field it is 350. We don’t meet that here,” said Norfolk Public School Senior Athletic Coordinator Steve Suttmiller.

A larger field, new dugouts and higher fences to protect fans are just some of the things on the list to bring it back up to code. Suttmiller says it is a work in progress.

“Every field is a priority, so right now this is the field that is in need, so sure it is at the top of the list,” he said.

Principal Dr. Margie Stallings says this is a project she knows is important, not only to the students, but also the community.

“Our students, they often complain about the drive time to go to a different field to play, and it’s always nice when you have a home game to play on your own field, where people can cheer you on,” she said.

A walk with head coach Thad Berry on Tuesday showed Dr. Stallings that it can be done.

“He was marking off where the 350 feet would be, to show that it is something that can be done once we move the backstop back, so that we would have the field space to make the field in regulation,” she said.

Suttmiller said they are only in the beginning stages of planning and funding, but they are looking forward to the time when kids can once again enjoy playing ball on their own soil.

“It’s an ongoing project, and we want to make sure that it is done the right way before we come back out here,” he said.

Dr. Stallings said they are actively looking for donations from the communtiy to fund the project. If you are interested in helping out, you can contact Booker T. Washington’s athletic department.

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