UPDATE: Feb. 17, 2016
In order to any successful sports program, there must be people willing to support and provide the foundation needed.
The head varsity baseball coach, Noah Heinz appreciates all of the donations made by various members of the community, including Larry Sellers and Kevin Schwab.
“The Sellers have donated everything from fertilizer to equipment,” Heinz said. “The only reason why our grass is green is because of the effort Larry Sellers has put into making sure it has been green during our playing season. Besides loaning equipment, he has been out on the the weekends trimming and mowing the baseball fields. Anytime you have a better playing surface it is going to benefit the team.”
Larry’s grandson, Tyler Sellers, ’16, is the teams leader in RBIs and has leads the team in the offensive category. Tyler began playing for the FC baseball team his sophomore year and bats as a clean up hitter in the batting line-up.
“The fact that your infielders get good ground balls,” Heinz said, “because the grass is the right length is very helpful and also his work with the bad dirt to minimize bad hops. You see a physical reward for putting in that type of work.”
One of the ten seniors on the team, Micheal Fu, is looking forward to bonding with teammates during the length of the season. Fu is excited to play games on the renovated field and will not miss the stinging pain the old playing surface brought while sliding into bases.
“With many new players and coaches join onto the team, we started slower than the previous year,” Fu said. “However, working on the renovation of both fields allows players to establish lasting bonds. With the new field and equipments, I hope for a brand new start and a great season ahead.”
Playing outfield for the team, Fu began playing baseball in 2007 when his host family introduced him to the sport. According to Fu, in his home country of Taiwan, people also share a passion for baseball with leagues ranging from youth baseball to professional level baseball teams.
“The new field, players, coaches, and even sponsors, all contribute to the new season. We played well and ended with a great finish last year, but with new players coming onto the team, I have high hopes for the season this year and even a chance to win the Valley championship.”
Kevin Schwab is the director of operations at Evergreen Landscaping. Schwab contributed to the FC field renovations by supplying field materials, labor, and proper equipment for the renovations. Currently, Schwab has four children attending FC.
“Evergreen Landscaping does gardening, landscaping and baseball renovations,” Schwab said. “I am the director of operations at Evergreen. I was approached by the school that there was a need to redo the baseball diamonds. They hadn’t been done in a long time and I decided to do it.”
In the past, Schwab has donated coaching time and donation to the choir at FC. He recommends others who have the capabilities of donating to FC to donate. Schwab thinks of his donations a personal benefit and he is satisfied with the final product.
“We donated time, labor, material, and equipment. We basically had bobcats, trenching equipment and a tractor. We had baseball infield clay and mix trucked in and clay bricks and drainage pipes. The donations are benefiting the players on the field and the perception to the people would come to watch the games.”
Every man on a bucket, shovel or a wheelbarrow, moving a hill of fresh dirt. Coaches and players alike scramble to move more dirt than the next guy. Puddles and lakes cover the infield even as rain still falls around them. Buckets of dirt are dumped into these “lakes”. Later players rake the fresh mounds created by the buckets and the wheelbarrows.
This upcoming baseball season, the high school teams are preparing by warming up their arms and making improvements to the varsity and junior high baseball field. Bryan Lowe is joining the team as a coach, as well.
A senior on the varsity team, Joshua Freeman began playing baseball in kindergarten. Currently Freeman plays first base, pitcher and outfield. Freeman says he is enjoying the work of shoveling dirt and hauling dirt to the infield.
“It’s a lot of fun working on the baseball field,” Freeman said. ” We have been shoveling and carrying lots of dirt to the field. We are developing new ways of carrying the dirt to the field because it is very tiring, but we have plenty of guys to do it.
Over the course of the renovations, the baseball team has been developing new ways of carrying dirt from the parking lot dirt mound to the infield. Many of the players were tasked with carrying buckets because of the shortage of wheelbarrows. During one point, Heinz brought out his truck and allowed the players to put dirt in the back.
“The field is just lacking final touches. The rain made big trenches and puddles in the field and we have been filling those in. It’s getting done and there isn’t much lacking. I think the upcoming baseball season is going to be a lot of fun. We have a lot of new teams playing and we have quite the future for the baseball team with all of the new freshmen coming onto the team.
A freshmen player, Kyle Friesen plays outfield for the baseball team. Friesen began playing baseball in 7th grade for the FC junior high baseball team. Friesen does not like working on the field, but he sees the need for field improvements and renovations.
“I don’t particularly like working on the baseball field, but it’s worth it as long as it makes the field nicer,” Friesen said. “We have been moving a lot of dirt from the parking lot to the baseball field. We also have been straightening out the baseline and filling in divots. I think we will finish the field in time for when the league games start. It is a lot of work, but I am sure we can pull it off.”
I don’t particularly like working on the baseball field, but it’s worth it as long as it makes the field nicer. We have been moving a lot of dirt from the parking lot to the baseball field. We also have been straightening out the baseline and filling in divots. I think we will finish the field in time for when the league games start. It is a lot of work, but I am sure we can pull it off. — Kyle Friesen
A new employee at FC, Steve Villines is now in charge of special projects at FC. In the past, Villines filled the role as the junior high coach. Currently, Villines helps out in girls soccer and coaches junior high girls softball.
“Jeremy Brown authorized and allowed us to start the baseball field renovations,” Villines said. “I work part time for FC now. My position is special projects for Jeremy Brown. Special projects is everything about growing our image as a school and improving the facilities. Baseball was kind of my pet project because the season is coming up quickly and we could make a quick impact. We didn’t want to wait for football season because that is six months from now.
Without the donations given to FC, both fields would have costed about 15,000 dollars to renovate. According to Villines, the renovations began at the end of January, and finished Feb. 5.
We readjusted baselines and rebuilt the pitcher mounds. We brought a special mix of dirt that contained a clay brick mixture with sand that is made for infields. We brought in about 40 tons of dirt for the junior high and high school infield.
A teacher and coach at FC, Noah Heinz began coaching baseball at FC five seasons ago as head coach of the varsity baseball team and also teaches sixth grade at FC. Also coaching baseball out of school, Heinz assumed the position of head coach for the Central Cal baseball academy 18 and under baseball team.
“Steve Villines came up with the main idea for the renovations,” Heinz said. “He was a lead organizer in bringing the companies to help with the donations and the labor needed. Evergreen Landscape company was the main provider for the clay mix for the fields.”
The junior high field is not only used by the FC junior high team, but also the People’s church recreational baseball league. These renovations also benefit them along with the junior highers.
During the course of the renovations, both high school and junior high team have spent a segment of their practices raking, dumping and shoveling dirt onto the fields. Many of the players scrambled to get rakes or shovels, so they did not have to endure the strenuous work of carrying full buckets of dirt.
“The work has been a group effort. When we first got started, we were in a time crunch. My sixth grade class gave their time and spent a couple of hours shoveling and moving dirt to the infield which was very helpful. Also the varsity baseball team as well as Steve Villines has been doing the majority of the work on the project.”
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