Admitting his bias because his young children play the game, Mackay baseball and softball coach Travis Drussell is excited for the next season of spring baseball because the new Mackay field should be ready.
Starting the $35,000 project a few months ago by building some fences, Drussell said construction workers will spend this summer finishing the fence and hydroseeding the field located near Tourist Park. Then, they’ll build the backstop and put in the dugouts.
Justin Ivie with the Mackay Baseball Association, who Drussell said is spearheading the project, told the Messenger in March the plan was to have the field ready by the end of summer. It’ll be a gamechanger to have a new baseball diamond in Mackay, according to Ivie and Drussell, mostly because it will be the town’s first regulation-sized field for high school boys.
A regulation field means advantages to Mackay High School baseball players, Drussell said, who play as the RiverCats with their Challis and Butte County co-op teammates. For one, future players like Drussell’s son will have a practice field that matches what they’ll experience playing games. Having to play home games in Challis and practice at a local park isn’t ideal for developing skills, especially when coaches want to run drills meant to simulate game-time situations, Drussell said.
Speaking about the community advantages, Drussell said the new field will promote more youth programs and activities in Mackay. Mackay City Council members agreed that in exchange for baseball association members maintaining the field, the city assumed ownership of it and agreed to make it a safe and secure facility. Use of the field and adjacent facilities like bathrooms will be free and open to the public. The field can be reserved, but Mackay schools and youth organizations aren’t required to make reservations. They can use the field at any time, as long as another group hasn’t reserved the site.
Finally, Drussell said it will bring a point of pride to Mackay to have its own regulation-size baseball field. When players have home games, part of the experience is showing off the best their community has to offer, the coach said. With this new field, Mackay baseball players will hopefully get a chance to shine in their own backyard come springtime, Drussell said.