Seymour unveils new ball fields at Freeman Field

Two new ball fields were unveiled on Thursday afternoon at Freeman Field Recreational Complex.

The fields serve as a solid addition to the recreational facilities in Seymour, attracting out-of-town visitors and allowing for larger tournaments to be played in the community.

The idea to put in these fields started way before COVID-19 hit, according to program director with Seymour Parks and Recreation Chad Keithley.

But once the planning started and everything got approved, the pandemic swept across the world and it stalled things. The original company they had to work on the field got behind on all their projects, so Seymour Parks and Recreation started looking locally.

That’s when they got in touch with King’s Trucking and Excavation.

"They were great," Keithley said. "They said we can start whenever."

From there, the city team stepped in and worked a lot of hours, including overtime and weekend hours.

It took about two months to get the dirt complete. From there, it was time to begin working on the fence. After fence construction began, the city team came in and measured out the field, getting all the bases and base paths lined out. Once that finished, the fence got completed.

Keithley said tournament directors were on him on when they could start holding events, and that came earlier this year.

"We finished on a Thursday and we were holding tournaments that Friday night," Keithley said. "It was a quick, fast thing to get completed."

Now that the two fields are done, they’re gaining teams for a lot of weekends. Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson said it’ll bring in roughly 56 more teams per tournament.

The two new fields measure out a distance of 225 feet to centerfield. The other three fields at Freeman are 300 feet.

The two new fields are technically considered softball diamonds. In the past, when fastpitch softball would come play at Freeman, they used to put up temporary fences at 225 feet. Now, they don’t have to do that.

"It’s going to save us on time and labor," Keithley said.

Leagues such as 12U will also play on the new fields, and 14U will play on the original three fields.

There was a concern from Seymour Parks and Recreation that local teams wouldn’t be interested in playing at the new diamonds at Freeman Field because of the location, but that hasn’t been the case.

"It has not been an issue at all," Keithley said. "Local teams want to play on the new diamonds because they know if it rains, these fields won’t get rained out."

The new fields have what’s called a Washington ball mix on the surface.

"It’s got some brick dust and field conditioning mixture in it where it helps gives a barrier to the rain that comes in and it’ll let the rain go through quicker," Keithley said.

Thursday was a big success to officially be able to unveil these fields. Members of Seymour Parks and Recreation and King’s Trucking and Excavation were in attendance to celebrate the job well done.

The fields, in addition to the three original fields, have already hosted four different tournaments up to this point. They are booked all the way up to October 31 as well.

"For the park department it is very good," Keithley said. "We did, and it’s done."

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