Brownstown school board approves upgrades to baseball field

25 September 2018

In the spring, Brownstown Central High School baseball head coach Brandon Tormoehlen said there were around 20 days that his team couldn’t practice or play games.

That was due to water standing in the lowest part of the infield around home plate.

“We had a bunch of days where our infield was dry, we could have played, but our home plate area was a swamp,” he said.

Tormoehlen said the best way to rectify that problem is to have a turf insert installed.

Several other schools in the Mid-Southern Conference, including Scottsburg, North Harrison and Salem, have the turf insert, and a couple of others are talking about getting it, too, Tormoehlen said.

The baseball parents club will cover the cost of the project, but Tormoehlen needed the board of trustees’ approval. He received that during a meeting earlier this month.

The board also approved a second project at the baseball field — installing plastic chair-back stadium seats. Combined, the projects will cost around $11,000. The parents club also is covering the cost of the seating.

The turf project should start this week, weather permitting, and be finished within a week or two, Tormoehlen said. He hopes it is completed before the alumni game, set for 1 p.m. Oct. 27.

The other project will start whenever the seating is ready for pickup.

Midsouth Baseball will install the turf insert. Tormoehlen said it should last 10 to 15 years as long as it is maintained. He said the Floyd Central baseball coach told him that school’s first turf insert lasted 12 years.

“It’s actually softer than the clay that we would use, and it actually kind of pays for itself after about five or six years,” Tormoehlen said.

The seating will come from S&S Seating. Tormoehlen said that company buys stadium seats, refurbishes them and sells them.

Depending on the number of rows, he said there will be between 70 and 100 seats installed behind the home plate area. Madison High School has the chair-back seating at its baseball field.

“It looks good, No. 1,” Tormoehlen said. “No. 2, it gives it that baseball stadium-type feel.”

The set of aluminum bleachers for spectators that used to sit on top of the hill facing the field was moved to the nearby tennis courts. A retaining wall will be constructed behind the new seating area, leaving plenty of room behind that for spectators to sit on the grass or in chairs to watch games.

Randy Ude, the corporation’s maintenance director, will help install the seating. Money will come from the corporation’s capital projects fund to cover the concrete work for the seating and also the new restrooms and concession stand planned for the baseball field.

Tormoehlen and the board also discussed the possibility of having people reserve or sponsor individual seats with money raised going to the parents club.

Tormoehlen also said he had talked to Athletic Director Mark DeHart about charging admission to games, which is another way to bring money back into the program. At this time, Brownstown doesn’t charge fans for attending baseball and softball games.

Trustee Scott Shade said only one other school in the conference doesn’t charge admission.

“I think there’s some opportunity there. … I think we need to look at that for the future,” he said.

“I think we need to maybe investigate that a little bit deeper and think about how that would affect the other sports, as well,” Trustee Gina Hackman said.

Those issues were tabled until Tormoehlen and DeHart could discuss it further and bring a proposal back to the board.