Prep season has earliest start in Anchorage, thanks to FieldTurf

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Apr 16, 2016

The boys of summer hit the field Saturday in Anchorage in the earliest start date in more than 25 years of high school baseball.

Ten years ago, teams prepared for the season by taking ground balls and batting practice in parking lots. And when the players finally did get on the fields, the conditions were terrible: muddy and wet.

But FieldTurf has changed how the game is played in Alaska.

In past years Anchorage teams from the Cook Inlet Conference had gone elsewhere in Alaska to play in mid-April, but not this year. 

West vs. Bartlett, 10 a.m.

Service vs. Eagle River, 1 p.m.

Colony vs. South, 4 p.m.

Bartlett has one of just three all-FieldTurf baseball fields in Alaska – the other locations are Sitka and Kodiak.

However, FieldTurf baseball /softball infields through the advocacy of American Legion baseball is now becoming a growing trend because the surface allows for a longer season with more consistent bounces and game play and less maintenance required. 

Current FieldTurf infields constructed by Alliance for ALB with partnerships forged with Anchorage Parks and Recreation, Anchorage Parks Foundation, Eagle River Parks and Recreation and Mt View Lions include: 

Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage: Opened April 2010;

Polar LL Blackburn Field in Anchorage: Opened May 2014 repurposed from AFS; 

Polar LL Peck Field in Anchorage: Opened May 2014 repurposed from AFS;

Kosinski 4 Field in Anchorage: Opened May 2015;

Kosinski 3 Field in Anchorage: Opened May 2015;

Loretta French Field in Eagle River: Opening May 2016;

Oberg Field in Chugiak: Opening May 2016.

Other areas of the state have also looked to add FieldTurf baseball/softball infields constructed by the Mat Su Borough and the Mat Su School District:

Joe Redington High School near Wasilla: Scheduled to open Fall of 2016 FieldTurf Baseball and Softball infields;

Wasilla High School near Wasilla: Schedule to open Fall of 2016 FieldTurf Baseball and Softball infields.

Future plans discussed by the Alliance with its partner American Legion programs is FieldTurf fields in Fairbanks, Ketchikan and Juneau as well as partnership with statewide Little League baseball and softball organizations to use repurposed FieldTurf for infields.

Here's a look at the non-league [NL] schedule:

SATURDAY, APRIL 16

BA  West vs. Bartlett   10:00 AM 

BA  Service vs. Eagle River  1:00 PM 

BA Colony vs. South   4:00 PM 

THURSDAY, APRIL 21

BA  Delta vs. Chugiak  6:30 PM

FRIDAY, APRIL 22

BA  Palmer vs. Dimond  6:30 PM 

K4  Delta vs. Eagle River  6:30 PM

SATURDAY, APRIL 23

ASD-APPROVED JAMBOREE 

Scrimmages limited to 2 innings or 1 hour

K4 Service vs. West 10:00 AM

K3  Delta vs. Dimond 10:00 AM

K4  West vs. Dimond 11:15 AM

K3 Delta vs. Service 11:15 AM

K4 Dimond vs. Service 12:30 PM

K3 West vs. Delta 12:30 PM

ASD-APPROVED JAMBOREE 

Scrimmages limited to 2 innings or 1 hour

K4 Eagle River vs. Bartlett  2:00 PM

K3  Chugiak vs. East 2:00 PM

K4  Bartlett vs. East 3:15 PM

K3 Chugiak vs. Eagle River 3:15 PM

K4 East vs. Eagle River 4:30 PM 

K3 Bartlett vs. Chugiak 4:30 PM

***Jamboree Rules

A baseball Jamboree shall include three or more teams. A team is limited to no more than 6 innings total with no more than 2 innings against any other team. Each pitcher is limited to no more than 2 innings. A team may not play in more than one Jamboree each season. No scores are kept in a Jamboree.

MONDAY, APRIL 25

K4  Colony vs. Eagle River 6:30 PM

K3  Palmer vs. Service 6:30 PM

TUESDAY, APRIL 26

K4  Wasilla vs. Bartlett  6:30 PM

K3  Dimond vs. West  6:30 PM

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27

K4  Palmer vs. South  6:30 PM

K3  East vs. Chugiak  6:30 PM

THURSDAY, APRIL 28

BA  Wasilla vs. Dimond 6:30 PM

K4  Colony vs. Service 6:30 PM

K3  South vs. Chugiak  6:30 PM

FRIDAY, APRIL 29

BA  Wasilla vs. West  6:30 PM

K4  Bartlett vs. Dimond 6:30 PM

K3  Service vs. East  6:30 PM

SATURDAY, APRIL 30

BA  Eagle River vs. West  10:00 AM

BA  Lathrop vs. Chugiak  1:00 PM

BA  Lathrop vs. South  4:00 PM

BA  East vs. Bartlett  7:00 PM