Indians donate $5,000 to Dukes baseball

Courtesy Photo

The Wellington High School baseball team accepted a slew of grants for their new diamond, including $5,000 from the Cleveland Indians.

A $5,000 grant from the Cleveland Indians will help build a new field for the Wellington Dukes baseball team.

Lisa Bliss, member of the Wellington High baseball boosters, applied for the grant in the beginning of April with the help of village councilwoman Helen Dronsfield.

Bliss received the check in May.

Athletic director Denny Ziegler said the team and the boosters were thrilled to received the grant because the Dukes haven’t had a home field since the construction of the new McCormick Middle School began.

The high school team had been using the diamonds at Wellington Community park, but the fields are small and don’t have built-in mounds. Bliss said the outfield is short and players spill out of the dugout.

The Indians’ grant is one of several going toward the project. Village manager Steve Pyles said Wellington received a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for $64,000.

“The Department of Natural Resources requires us to have some match into the program but a lot of our match will be in our equipment and our people’s time that is going to build the field,” Pyles said.

A portion of the project will also be paid by the Lorain County Solid Waste District. The village received an incentive grant totaling about $9,500 for the dugout structures.

Pyles said the overall cost has yet to be determined because designs are still being finalized.

The field will be built on top of the old soccer fields at Wellington Community Park. It will also be used by youth leagues.

“One of the pieces of feedback we continuously got from our baseball group is that they need a field that has a mound so that as those young pitchers get developed they can learn that skill of pitching off a mound instead of pitching on a flat field like a softball field,” Pyles said. “It was a need. Obviously it was a need that we were able to present to the Department of Natural Resources and they recognized it also.”

The state requires field construction to be completed by the end of the year. Yet Pyles said it might not be playable for the Dukes’ next season.

“We may have to replant grass and usually you have to give grass a season to grow for it to sustain athletic activities on it,” he said.

Ziegler said his hope is to make it one of the best fields in the Patriot Athletic Conference and the county.

“Our goal or our focus would be to get some district tournament games here or rent it out to other teams who might want to use it,” he said.

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.