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Face-lifts at the yards

Take in a ballgame at some area diamonds in the early spring and, no doubt, the fresh spring air will hit you.
Fend off the allergies and grab a ballcap.
There is a certain newness to some of the fields where high school teams will round the bases and kick up chalk dust.
At North Harrison, the softball complex has nearly undergone a complete overhaul. A newly constructed press box opened late last spring while, in the offseason, additional improvements were made. Bright LED bulbs stand out on a new left-centerfield scoreboard along with home and visiting teams enjoying the comforts of reconstructed dugouts.
‘We basically gave it a face-lift,’ North Harrison athletic director Hal Pearson said. ‘We tore down the dugouts and built two new ones. There is storage on each end of the dugouts, similar to our baseball field.’
Storage has been welcomed by the Lady Cats. Eyesores and old small buildings near the first-base dugout saw one torn down and the other restructured.
‘Cleaning up the storage rooms was a big deal,’ Pearson said. ‘Rain would leak in and muddy up everything in there. Now, there is plenty of room to store field equipment.’
Outfield fencing was tightened and a windscreen is going to be added. Fielders now have a warning track near the fence. With the scoreboard, Pearson said the goal is to upgrade old bulb scoreboards with LED.
‘There is a lot less maintenance with the LED lights,’ he said.
Players and coaches seem thrilled about the new digs.
‘With the new press box, dugouts and scoreboard, it’s basically a whole new facility,’ North Harrison softball coach Mark Lamon said. ‘The kids are excited about it, and I want them to take pride in it.’
At Lanesville, construction on a new backstop began in the summer and was recently finished for opening day.
Located along the main drag of town, the backstop is brick with up-to-date netting serving as the protective fence between a batted ball and spectators.
‘It fits in great with the look behind our outfield,’ Lanesville baseball coach Zach Payne said. ‘It really pulls it all together. A lot of college teams would like to have the backstop we have. It turned out better than I expected.’
Payne said the backstop construction had been in motion for a few years prior to his arrival as head coach in 2015. Year after year, Lanesville has one of the premier high school baseball playing surfaces in Southern Indiana, according to Payne.
Keeping with the traditional look, the dugouts were painted green.
‘It’s a great neutral baseball color to match our press box,’ Payne said.
Baseball’s popularity has hit recent classes at Lanesville. In his first season coaching, Payne said a little more than 25 percent of the boys in the high school played the bat-and-ball sport.
‘I hope the renovations help bring excitement to baseball,’ Payne said. ‘We have some good athletes in the school, and I hope this encourages kids to pick up baseball even more.’
Later in the spring, Lanesville is slated to host the Class 1A baseball sectional, certainly a time for area schools to play at Ed Jeagers Memorial Field.
‘I think people will enjoy coming to our park for sectional,’ Payne said. ‘I think we have one of the nicer facilities in the area.’
South Central saw a much-needed addition to its facility, although located off the diamond. The Rebels erected a batting cage to replace the old one.
‘We couldn’t stand around the old cage,’ South Central coach Brian McKnight said, adding, when players hit, sometimes balls flying off bats could sneak through holes in the old one.
Corydon Central’s baseball and softball diamonds are undergoing repair. Each of the fields saw the dirt areas of the infield tilled up and leveled. Fields at Corydon Central expect the final top dressing of dirt to arrive soon.
The same dirt project also took place at the North Harrison baseball and softball fields.