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No place to play baseball

April 06, 1997

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - More than 200 teenage baseball players might be seeing more of the bench than the field this season unless the Waynesboro Area Teenage League comes up with some places to play.

Although the number of boys who have signed up to play baseball this spring isn't unusual, the lack of playing space is a problem teen league officials haven't faced before.

"So far we're dealing with what we have," said Fred Bennett, president of the league. "But we haven't been able to put the game schedules together."

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One of the league's primary playing spots, the baseball diamond at Waynesboro Area Middle School, has been turned into a softball field to accommodate the growing number of high school girls varsity and junior varsity softball teams.

"We didn't have our own (softball) field," said Waynesboro School Superintendent Robert Mesaros. "It's good to have a field in our district."

The girls' softball teams played at Waynesboro's Memorial Park before the Softball Booster Club donated money and labor to convert the middle school field, Mesaros said.

With one field gone, teen league members are scrambling to find a replacement. The league also has been hit with added expenses for rebuilding the baseball field at the Owls Club picnic grounds on Marsh Road, which was severely washed out and flooded by rain, Bennett said.

With the practice season under way and the May 15 opening day just six weeks away, members of the teen league are hoping they'll be able to do enough switching around to accommodate all 11 teams, made up of the Pony League for 13-to 14-year-olds, and the Colt League for 15-to 18-year-olds.

The teen league could be relieved of some pressure if members can finish building one of two fields given to them at the Pine Hill Recreational Area located off of Mentzer Gap Road in Washington Township. The new field could take care of the Pony League games, Bennett said.

The league is negotiating with Waynesboro officials to turn the vacant land in Wayne Gardens, owned by the borough and designated for recreational use, into two baseball fields and possibly a soccer field

The proposal could cost the league between $7,000 and $8,000.

Concerned about noise, parking, and other potential problems, some residents of the Wayne Gardens housing development, which surrounds the 10-acre property located south of Eighth Street and extending from Fairview Avenue to Park Street, are opposing the plans.

At last month's Waynesboro Council meeting, Jim Valentine, borough director of engineering services, said he's worried that leveling the area would result in steep banks behind the homes and could cause flooding problems. He offered to help the league with its plans.

"I think there can be a real compromise on it," said Council member Delmos Oldham, adding that the borough has leased the property for the past several years to a farmer who bales hay.

Once the teen league presents the Council with final plans, Oldham said a public meeting will be held.

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