The Webster University softball team has cancelled two games so far this season due to field conditions after rain at the Blackburn Park softball field.
The Gorloks’ first softball game after spring break, against University of Wisconsin-Platteville, was postponed on the original date when melted snow made the field unusable. The game was rescheduled to March 12 and was then cancelled due to sitting water after rain.
Webster University Director of Athletics Scott Kilgallon is looking for solutions to field problems.
“My next step is to look at the softball fields because they shouldn’t have standing water two or three days after rain,” Kilgallon said. “It’s unacceptable.”
The Wisconsin-Platteville game was cancelled several days before it was set to take place.
Webster Groves Parks and Recreation Director Scott Davis said that the city is planning on making improvements to the field in the next month.
“That field is scheduled for additional soil amendments and laser grading this spring,” Davis said. “Every few years we laser grade the fields to make sure that they have the proper grading to sheet flow the water off the infield soil towards the grass.”
Gorloks’ head softball coach Chris Eaton said that he has noticed the same problem with the field, and that it has been a challenge scheduling games and practices given the quality of the field.
“It’s kind of uneven… [the rain] pools in one area,” Eaton said.
The problem of standing water can be attributed to the lack of a proper drainage system found under many collegiate and professional fields. “That field is a recreational use field that does not have drainage installed under the soil,” Davis said. “There is a short slot drain along the first base foul fence that catches the sheet flow water.”
While the field is owned by the city of Webster Groves, the women’s team must tend to the field to get it ready for practices and games, something Kilgallon said was frustrating.
Despite the issues, Kilgallon did have some positive things to say about the softball field. Kilgallon said that Blackburn Park, located in Webster Groves, is convenient because of the proximity to campus.
The Gorloks had another cancellation for their game against Harris-Stowe University, but it was unrelated to field conditions; Harris-Stowe’s team had a scheduling conflict.