By Rick Palsgrove
The old softball field had seen better days. Grass and weeds grew in patchy lumps on the dirt infield. The wooden bleachers sagged and were overgrown with weeds. It seemed something needed fixed everywhere. The field needed help.
Assistance came in the form of the Canal Crush Softball Program, which partnered with American Legion Post 677, to refurbish the softball field located at the Post at 11410 Smith Road, Lithopolis.
“The outfield fence was replaced, the old bleachers were removed and replaced, the infield was reconditioned, new bases were installed, the dugouts and benches painted, the scoreboard was repaired and a controller for the scoreboard was purchased with the help of the Post,” said Canal Crush Coach Rob Peters.
Peters said work to refurbish the field began in the fall of 2013 and was completed on May 25.
“The cost to do the work was around $4,000 and was paid for by donations from SLI Notify, American Legion Post 677, Bob Peters, (grandfather of one of the players), and by the owners of the Canal Crush,” said Peters. “The work was completed by parent volunteers from the Crush organization and Phil Crist of the American Legion.”
Post Commander John Waishnora said the project was a good fit for the American Legion Post.
“One of the four pillars the American Legion was founded on was to help the children and youth of the community,” said Waishnora.
Peters said only a few girls from the Canal Crush program were able to physically help out in the refurbishment because of the type of work done and the amount of time it took.
“Many of the Crush players are also involved in other activities, such as travel soccer or competitive dance teams,” said Peters.
Peters said the idea to fix up the softball field arose when the Canal Crush organization was looking for a field to use as its home field in league play and as a practice facility.
“The Post 677 diamond had not been used for games in a number of years and, after meeting with the board at the Post, an agreement was reached to allow the Crush primary use of the diamond,” said Peters. “Now, all our home games and practices take place at this American Legion Post 677 diamond.”
Peters said everyone is happy with the result of the field’s refurbishment.
“The families love it,” said Peters. “We now have an excellent, safe diamond close to home for the girls to practice and play on. The feedback from Post 677 members has been extremely positive. They enjoy having the girls around.”
Added Waishnora, “We’ve received a lot of good comments about the field.”
About the Canal Crush
The Canal Crush is a softball team owned by Debbie Skinner, Sam Zungri, Keith Best and Rob Peters. The Canal Crush teams play in the I-270 Girls Fastpitch Softball League and participate in numerous tournaments throughout the central Ohio area.
According to Peters, Canal Crush has two teams, one at the age 10 and under level and one at the age 12 and under level. The players come from the Canal Winchester, Pickerington, and Bloom-Carroll school districts. Each team consists of 12 girls.
“We do not limit participation to these districts, but that is where the girls came from,” said Peters. “This is our first year of operating the Crush.”