Youth Sports

After opening-day setback, Field of Dreams getting broken in

2013-06-07T22:00:00Z After opening-day setback, Field of Dreams getting broken inJohn Burbridge john.burbridge@nwi.com, (219) 933-3371 nwitimes.com

LAKE STATION | Being twice elected mayor of Lake Station, you could say Keith Soderquist knows a little about politics.

But when it came to Little League politics, he and his  "dreams" were due for a rude awakening.

"It just seemed like a no-brainer," Soderquist said of the newly minted "Field of Dreams" baseball and softball fields at the eastern end of Four Winds Park. They were meant to be additions for the Lake Station Little League.

"We were finally going have fields for our (pre-Senior League) players here in the city," Soderquist said. "They wouldn't have to travel across the border to play somewhere else."

Three days before opening day last season, an impasse blocked the plate.

"(Little League) wanted more control of field and league operations — they even wanted a percentage of our concessions," said Soderquist, who was incredulous at the turn of events which left the two fields dormant last season.

"We put a lot of effort and money in making this a reality," Soderquist said. "In the end, we decided that we couldn't rely on a non-profit organization to come in or pull out on a whim or based on what they wanted us to do."

So for this season, the city's "Field of Dreams" went with Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth.

"It was our best option," said Lake Station Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth board president Michael Del Toro. "We have 160 kids out this year, and we managed to keep the cost down."

The league consists of four tee-ball teams, four Minor teams, three Major teams, two softball teams and one Babe Ruth team. The Major, Babe Ruth and softball teams will play against other town teams in the area.

Soderquist said Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth gives the city and its park department more autonomy in field maintenance.

"It's hard to lean on volunteers to come out here and work on the fields after they already put in a hard's day work," he said.

The "Field of Dreams" has a 60/70 (base path distances) field and a 70/90 field with two other adjustable fields in the process of being lain.

Plans for the near future will include a youth football field and soccer pitch and a 100-by-100-feet skate park at "Field of Dreams at Four Winds Park."

"This is a risk, and yes, a political risk," Soderquist said of the project that he estimates will eventually cost $2,000,000, "but I know it's the right thing to do."

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