The snow left behind from a harsh winter is quickly becoming a distant memory for baseball fans.
But while the players are anxious to get back onto the field, the transformation needed to go from barren wasteland to a cultivated diamond doesn’t happen overnight.
The Tunkhannock Little League is responsible for two complexes, each with two fields, and volunteers have been hard at work in preparing for opening day during the week of April 21.
“We got a later start than we would have liked because of the long winter, and I’m sure every other league in our area is facing the same problem,” Tunkhannock Little League president Bob Barkley said. “We’ve started to schedule the families from our teams to help with field maintenance on a rotating basis that will continue throughout the season. If all the families pitch in and do a small share of the work, it really makes things a lot easier for everybody involved.”
Volunteers will spend the upcoming weekends at the fields from about 9 a.m. until noon, depending on the weather.
“This time of year you can really just do what you can on some days,” Barkley said. “One day you can get a lot done but the next day you’re wiping down concession stands for an hour before you have to go home.”
The Tunkhannock Little League will have about 350 children in its baseball and softball programs, ranging in ages five through 16.
To help combat the workload of several fields, Barkley and a board of volunteers divvy up the workload.
Brad Talcott and Scott Zaner head the Massaker complex while Jason Tague and John Grey are in charge at the Baumgartner complex.
“They put in a lot of hours in keeping our facilities maintained,” Barkley said. “While they get the fields in shape, we have a lot of work going on behind the scenes.”
Some of that work includes finalizing rosters and working on game schedules, which can become a complicated task because of the amount of teams and schedules with other leagues.
A complete refurbishing of the Denny Robinson field is also in the process of being completed.
“It got to the point where it wasn’t draining well and needed to be completely redone,” Barkley said. “We tore off the entire infield so one of the big efforts before the start of the season is getting it rolled and ready to go.”
Barkley also added that other tasks at hand include stocking concession stands, painting and scoreboard maintenance.
“Over the next couple of weekends we’ll just get everything spruced up and get the winter dirt and grime off the fields like we have to do every year,” he said.