Solon High School’s (SHS) “unplayable” softball field

The SHS Softball Field

The SHS Softball Field

Angeli Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

According to SHS junior Anna Emch, as well as other softball players interviewed for this article, the Roxbury softball field is “unplayable.” Many of the members of the team have said they are concerned about the field’s condition.

However, SHS Athletic Director James McQuaide claims he had no prior knowledge of the field being in bad condition, and it was the first time he heard anything about it.

“I contacted the coach [David Donaldson], and he said the field is in the best shape it’s been in years,” McQuaide said. “So no one has ever told me that [the field was in bad condition].”

No coaches or opposing coaches have expressed concern about the field, they’ve said how the field was actually in good condition.

Coach Donaldson said that “the field this year has been phenomenal all season long.”

Though some of the girls said they feel it is not in good condition partly because of the type of field they have. They claim it is unfair for the boys’ baseball team to get turf for their field and for the girls softball field to get dirt.

In response, McQuaide said the boys have a turf infield at the park because it’s owned by the city, not the school. The softball field and the baseball field have no correlation with one another because they are not being paid for or maintained by the same people. The reason the softball team has to play at the school field is because the city doesn’t have a softball field. Similarly, the school does not have a baseball field for the boys.

SHS junior Samantha Taylor, who plays for varsity on the softball team, said the rain affects the field.

“We can’t play on the field three days after it rains,” Taylor said. “The outfield drainage system is terrible, so it’ll rain and a week later the field will still be soaking wet.”

In response, McQuaide said no games have been canceled this season due to the field condition, but there have been two cancellations mid-game because of weather mishaps like snow and rain on March 3 and April 5. According to McQuaide and the team, the field flooded on the April 5 game.

He claims the maintenance department has put a great deal of time and resources into the field last year, which was a terrible season for rain.

Emch said she is frustrated by how the field is being kept and hopes the school can make a change to it.

“The conditions of the field are just not kept up with, it’s put on the backburner for the school, they don’t really pay attention to it,” Emch said. “I wish the school would take better care of our field, and they need to be more consistent when keeping up with maintenance.”

Closer up version of the small rocks and uneven ground.

SHS junior Alexis Earle said because of how uneven the outfield is and how rocky the infield is, it negatively affects the players and how they play the game.

“It causes a lot of problems for our outfielders [when] getting balls, and they’re also at high risk of [hurting] their ankles,” Earle said. “The infield is really rocky, which means when we slide or dive to get the balls, it’s always dangerous because you get really scratched up. So I feel like we need to have softer dirt or just have better management of the field.”

In response to the claims that the field isn’t safe, McQuaide said games would not be played if they felt it wasn’t a safe environment for the girls, and umpires, coaches and opposing coaches check the field before any game is played to make sure it’s alright to play on.

“Umpires or coaches would not let the game be played if they considered the field to be unsafe,” McQuaide said. “Our Maintenance Department works on the field daily and would not approve games on the field if they believed it was unsafe for playing. I have also been on the field with our Maintenance Department and would not approve of games being played if the field was unsafe.”

But according to Earle and Emch, there are many times the field is unsuitable for the girls to play on because of how uneven it is. Each girl interviewed expressed that if the field was less rocky, more even and better taken care of, that they would be able to play more games and would enjoy playing for the team more. So to them, the field continues to be a problem.

McQuaide said that he will continue to work with the Maintenance Department to improve the field’s condition, but Earl said she feels the field is old and needs to be redone.

“I feel like having an updated field will help us be better softball players and be an advantage for us to hopefully win more games,” she said.