Help is on the way for Kimball High’s baseball and softball fields, but it won’t come in time to make the fields playable by the start of the spring sports season on Feb. 28.
A dry winter and the seasonal shut-down of West Side Irrigation District, Kimball’s usual source of water, caused the fields to dry up, leaving patches of sand and dead grass in the outfields.
Tracy Unified School District arranged to get water from the city of Tracy, but the likelihood that fields won’t be ready for play has forced baseball coach Scott Anderson to reshuffle his schedule to have more games on the road this year, and all of the Jaguars’ home games at West High.
“Today alone I’ve made four changes already,” Anderson said on Tuesday, right after getting off the phone with the coach of Summerville High, Kimball’s opening day opponent on Feb. 28. The Jaguars will travel for that game.
“It looks like most of our games to start with, at least the first half of the season, we’re going to have to play at West, because there is no way, this field is not game-ready,” Anderson said. He said that the Jaguar varsity and junior varsity teams will play at West when the Wolf Pack baseball team is on the road.
“Fortunately enough West’s schedule is opposite of ours, so most of the time they’re away when we’re at home.”
West coach Roger Gallardo said he expects the arrangement will work, as long as the West team doesn’t get bumped from its practices on Kimball’s game days.
“I just want to make sure that we know so at least we can prepare, or Kimball can prepare,” Gallardo said.
Kimball High athletic director Steve Thornton said that Tracy Unified School District grounds keepers plan to reseed Kimball’s fields next week. The grass turf could be back within a couple of months, but Thornton said his first priority was to make sure teams had venues that they could count on.
“Right now we’re approaching it like it will be for the whole year, but we’ll wait and see,” he said.
Kimball’s softball teams will play at Tracy Sports Complex. Thornton said the softball teams aren’t affected as much as the baseball teams because the complex had open diamonds on the days Kimball has home games.
Tracy Sports Complex is also the home venue for Tracy High softball, but the Bulldog teams play mostly on different days than the Kimball teams.
Kimball softball coach Joe Hernandez said he also likes the diamonds at the sports complex because they are flat and well-groomed, compared to Kimball’s diamonds which have slopes between the foul lines and the dugouts.
“The only drawback is having to take all our gear there for games, and being a little more inconvenient for students to stay after school and watch a game or two,” Hernandez said.
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.