CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Central High School baseball players thought they would have a new place to play this season at Spalding Park.
“With the new facility, hearing how nice it was going to be, I was pretty excited for the upcoming season,” said student Sam Beesley.
After just one game, problems with the field forced them back to their old stomping grounds at McKinley Field. Assistant coach Leconte Nix says it’s not a bad thing.
“We loved it over there, but it’s good to be back here too,” said Nix.
Two weeks ago, there was a ribbon cutting to celebrate the Spalding renovations. It’s all part of the district’s referendum project.
The team played one game that night. The park was upgraded with a baseball field, dugouts, batting cages and bullpens. They also put down sod, but roots have to grow before it’s safe for the players to use it. That hasn’t happened.
The district decided to move the team back to McKinley for now.
“The grass was a little rough out there and, as long as we stay safe and play on this field, then it’s all fun,” said Beesley.
Becky Pedigo works with Pedigo Sod. She says if the players are on the ground before the roots grow, there could be problems.
“If it were to shift on them and cause them to go down, they could get injured, so I would say they are doing the best that they can right now,” said Pedigo.
“It’s definitely the best thing for the players. I think the district made a great call. We love it here. It’s good to be back here. We love the people around the neighborhood. It’s a great neighborhood so yeah we’re glad to be playing back here,” said Nix.
The move back to McKinley is only temporary. As the weather warms, the roots will grow.