The town’s first little league field will be open as early this April at the Stephen P. Wallace Town Park, taking the place of one of the town’s two softball fields.
By converting the existing softball field at the Stephen P. Wallace Town Park on Swift Road into a regulation baseball-sized field with adjustable bases and pitcher’s mound for conversion to little league dimensions, the field will service the growing teen baseball interest in town. A second town softball field remains at the Feura Bush Park on Mathias Place.
Spearheaded by Councilman Bill Hennessey, in coordination with the recently created Voorheesville Baseball Club, the field conversion was approved at the most recent town board meeting Wednesday, Sept. 23. Until the Voorheesville Baseball Club was created three years ago, no league existed in town for children older than ten years old, after they aged out of Kiwanis Youth Baseball little league play.
Costs for the conversion will be less than $5,000, according to Hennessey. An undetermined portion of the cost will be paid for by the club, with the remaining cost sourced from the 2014 Town Improvement Plan fund through the Parks and Recreation Department. These expenditures will not have implications on the town’s general fund, and thus made for a “nice private-public partnership,” said Hennessey.
“It really provides for so many opportunities for kids to pursue an interest in playing baseball at higher level and staying together as a team,” said General Manager of the Voorheesville Baseball Club, James Conway. Prior to the club’s creation, New Scotland players were forced to separate to teams in either Guilderland or Berne-Knox-Westerlo once reaching 11 years old.
Construction began early this week, and will include grass being planted, the pitching mound removed in favor of an adjustable pitcher’s plate, and the addition of adjustable bases.
Currently, the All-American Sports Recreation Adult Softball League, run out of Albany, is the only league utilizing the softball fields. As two softball fields and no little league fields exist in town, the conversion seemed to make sense for Hennessey, amidst the Voorheesville Baseball Club’s growth.
The club began with one team in 2012, grew to three teams in 2014, and will have five teams this upcoming April. Last year all of the club’s games were played on the road, with teams paying around $50 to rent fields for each of the 20 games in their spring and fall seasons. The Swift Road field will now be the home field for the team’s games and practices.
“When you go to school with a kid, it’s nice to play with that neighbor or buddy,” said Conway. “With so many things focused on the individual these day, its good to see kids staying together, developing a team mentality.”