Longhorn Diamonds Sport Fresh Looks

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The Payson High School softball and baseball diamonds have undergone dramatic facelifts thanks to the volunteer efforts of sports booster clubs, parents, athletes and volunteers.

"(The school district) spent very little money, less than usual," athletic director Dave Bradley said. "About the only money we spent was $200 to buy new dirt for the softball field because it washes away every year."

Some Credit for Kids tax money was used to upgrade the facilities but only if the donors designated the money be used by the softball and baseball programs, Bradley said.

Probably the most dramatic change on the two fields is the purple-and-gold fencing that surrounds both facilities.

"The fences really look nice. The (colored) fences are more appealing than chain link and are good for school spirit," Bradley said.

The new look also has impressed parents and opposing teams.

"They are beautiful," said Val Zumbro, mother of Lady Horn pitcher Brenna Zumbro. "When Mingus was here, they were talking about how nice the fields look."

In addition to be more aesthetically pleasing, the fence also contributes to the safety of the players.

"If an outfielder is running to catch a ball, he (or she) can better see where the fence is and collisions can be avoided," Bradley said.

The colored fences also improve players depth perception and block out distractions, like automobile headlights, from outside the field.

As part of the renovation project, the baseball infield received additional filling to bring it up to the same level with the outfield grass.

"Hopefully that will do away with some of the ankle and foot injuries we've had when players stepped on (the infield-outfield boundary)," Bradley said.

Other projects on the baseball field included raising the pitching mound to regulation height and adding granite to the outfield warning track.

Like the colored fences, the granite warning tracks are safety measures to help outfielders gauge their location on the field.

On both the baseball and softball fields, the dugouts, concession stands and rest rooms received fresh coats of paint thanks in part to the efforts of students who spent a Saturday spiffing up facilities.

The rest room and concession stand will soon receive new roofs. The shingles and labor for the projects have been donated, Bradley said.

New seating areas have been added to both fields that give spectators better views of the games.

"The cement pads the bleachers are on were donated," Bradley said.

"This whole thing has been an effort of many parents and booster club members.

The final upgrades --uardrails that will prevent cars from being driven too close to the fields --ill be completed soon.

Baseball coach Teddy Pettet summed up the renovations by saying the fields and other facilities are in the best condition they have been since both were first built.

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