BOURNE – Using a tool called a “tamper” to pound down the dirt around the pitcher’s mound at Coady Field, Mike Brehaut said the idea is “so the pitchers have a proper pitching surface.”
Brehaut, 33, of Hyannis, and Chris LaFrance, 31, of Yarmouth were in Bourne to prepare Coady Field for an AAU tournament of four teams of 14-year-olds scheduled to begin Saturday morning at Coady Field.
Both are coaches with the Cape Riptide travel team program, and LaFrance is assistant coach of the Riptide team of 14-year-old ballplayers, who will be playing this weekend in the final four of the tournament, which started with 16 teams. According to Brehaut, there are six Cape Riptide teams, for different age groups from 9 to 14, including two 13-year-old teams.
Cape Riptide is travel team of some of the best players in Southeastern Massachusetts, said LaFrance. While hosting the tournament is important, Brehaut and LaFrance both said their maintenance of the field is steady throughout the baseball season.
“Proper field maintenance is huge,” said Brehaut. “You try to do the same process all the time. But over the course of a season, so many teams use the field all it takes is for one team not to do it properly and it messes everything up.”
Bourne High School uses the field, as do American Legion teams, Babe Ruth Teams, and the AAU team, said LaFrance.
The field develops issues, said LaFrance. “There were holes in the batters box and catcher’s area. The clay dries out over time, and the batter and catcher dig in. Last week we were here every day to prepare for the playoffs. We rented a rototiller, and dug eight inches down and watered the clay to make a good packable material for a baseball field.”
There are other areas that also need maintenance. LaFrance pointed out a divot where runners dive back into first base when they are being picked off. Over time, he said, it becomes noticeable. “We’ll be here for several more hours,” he said.
“We do it because we love it, and we want the kids to play on the best field possible,” said LaFrance.