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Riddle Park Baseball Field Makeover

By Mark Linton

The contractor employed a John Deere tractor connected to a laser leveling device to perform the gross leveling of the field.

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Riddle Park Baseball Field, home of Laguna Beach, California Little League since 1962, received an infield makeover. Landscape contractor Mark Linton teamed with Barney Lopas, head groundskeeper for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as well as Mannie Adams of Sports Field Services to complete this 1/2-acre project.

The Riddle Park Baseball Field project began with the removal of the existing infield sod using a Ryan Jr. Sod Cutter. After the field was stripped of its old grass, Linton had to rip out the existing irrigation system. The sprinkler heads of the previous system were positioned improperly to effectively and efficiently irrigate the field. Linton installed 300 feet of 1-inch schedule 40 plumbing and installed 16 new 12-inch Rainbird 1800 popups sprinkler heads. Once the new sprinklers with MP Rotator Nozzles were installed, Linton wired in and programmed a 9-station WeatherTRAC ET irrigation controller.

Before the project began, Riddle Field was in dire need of a complete makeover, from its worn out turf grass, to its outdated irrigation system.

Filling The Infield

Following the completion of the irrigation system installation, Linton employed a dump truck to deposit 10 yards of sand and 25 tons of in-field mix; The infield mix was a special blend that is screened to two millimeters, and consists of decomposed granite, clay, and a stabilizer product made of sand, silt and clay.

Using a dump truck, the contractor deposits 10 yards of sand and 25 tons of in-field mix. The infield mix was a special blend that is screened to two millimeters, and consists of decomposed granite, clay, and a stabilizing mix made of sand, silt and clay.

Once all the grass was removed, Linton began the laser leveling process. The laser level was set on the tripod and calibrated. Instead of walking around the property with the receiver-measuring pole to get the field's set points, the receiver attaches to the cutting and leveling box 'gannon' on back of the tractor. The receiving signal on the tractor operates the hydraulics and tells it how much to increase or decrease its depth of leveling.

Six workers took 2.5 hours to lay the 3,500 square feet of Tifway Bermuda sod. As explained by the contractor, ''Bermuda grass was chosen due to the grass' durability in ball fields and golf courses.''

After using a tractor for the gross leveling, six workers used landscape rakes to do the fine-tuning on the infield leveling process.

Leveling The Playing Field

Linton and his crew leveled the surface using a John Deere tractor with a laser-guided gannon. The leveling system used is similar to used by any masons and building contractors.

Linton and his crew leveled the majority of the field's surface using a John Deere tractor, however, for fine adjustments, workers used common landscape rakes. Once leveled, six workers laid the 3500 square feet of West Coast Turf Tifgreen #328. The sod was grown and purchased from West Coast Turf. Bermuda grass was chosen due to the grass' durability in ball fields and golf courses, etc. According to Linton, ''We never discussed artificial turf primarily because the main three people working on the project are baseball guys!''

The project features a new smart irrigation system, all new sod and a completely new infield. Shown here in the project before the infield material was added.

A Brief History

The Laguna Beach Little League was established in 1952 and is officially the third sanctioned Little League franchise in California behind Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Jack Norworth, a resident of Laguna Beach, who wrote the song ''take me out to the ballgame'' was the honorary president of the league until his death in 1959. During those years, Jack and his wife Amy distributed Cracker Jacks during the opening day celebrations. His wife Amy continued the tradition into the 1970s. A perpetual Jack Norworth Cracker Jack Trophy is awarded to the league champion each season. The Cracker Jack Company presented the trophy to Norworth in 1959 during a game welcoming the Dodgers in their first year in Los Angeles after moving from Brooklyn. No other league has a Cracker Jack Trophy.


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October 20, 2019, 6:07 pm PDT

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