PINGREE, N.D. — Construction on a new multi-use ballpark south of Pingree-Buchanan High School is expected to begin this year with a goal of hosting games next spring.
Pingree-Buchanan Youth Baseball, a nonprofit organization that is unaffiliated with
Pingree-Buchanan Public School District, has a goal to raise $100,000 for the project. The organization has raised almost $40,000, which includes a $9,000 matching grant from the Minnesota Twins Community Fund’s Twins Fields for Kids program, said Megan Wilson, secretary and treasurer of Pingree-Buchanan Youth Baseball.
The plan is for the new ballpark to be used by youth tee ball for ages 4-6 and coach-pitch teams for ages 7-10, softball teams and official school sports as part of the co-op with Medina, according to Pingree-Buchanan Youth Baseball’s Facebook page. The ball diamond will have the ability to convert from a little league field to a high school field, said Kelsey Krapp, a board member for Pingree-Buchanan Youth Baseball.
Contributed / Pingree-Buchanan Youth Baseball
The ballpark will be constructed directly south of Pingree-Buchanan High School’s parking lot. The land for the project was purchased and donated to the school district.
“The school is going to own the land and they will own the facility once it’s built and they are going to maintain it,” Krapp said.
Pingree-Buchanan Youth Baseball is raising funds for a fence, foul poles, bleachers and maintenance equipment. Krapp said the outfield fence with the backstop could cost around $35,000 to $40,000.
“Without those community dollars, this certainly wouldn’t be happening,” he said.
He said the field will have a movable pitching mound and different pins for bases that can be covered to easily convert the field from little league to high school.
“It’s going to be actually nice,” he said. “ … It’s going to be a dual-use facility, so it can be little league, tee ball, softball, which is a 60-foot baseline, and then up to Babe Ruth, high school, which is a 90-foot infield.”
He said the high school’s shop class built a storage shed that is located south of the parking lot and could potentially be used as a concession stand. He said the playing surface is going to be donated
Volunteers will do a lot of the work for the project with all of the equipment that they own. Wilson said the organization has gotten great support for the project.
“It’s a true small-town community,” she said, referring to all the local help for the project.
She said work will start as soon as some of the farmers are done planting crops and the land dries out from the snow melt and recent precipitation. She said a landscape architect will volunteer to draw formal plans for the ballpark as well.
Once the project is finished, Pingree will have two fields. There is currently a softball field to the west of the high school.
“There’s some potential there for the amateur softball team to put on a tournament here,” he said. Having two fields will also allow other teams to practice while a game is going on in Pingree.
Krapp said his biggest goal with the new ballpark is that it is still getting used years later. He said youth participation in tee ball and coach pitch has grown.
“People are very shocked to learn that for the last two years since I’ve been involved, we’ve had enough turnout for the tee ball program that we had two teams last year and then a coach pitch (team), ages 7 to 10, as well, so we currently have three teams and of course the softball team,” he said. “Ultimately I think it would be our hope to continue on beyond 10 years old and field Cal Ripken, Babe Ruth but that’s probably going to require Medina as well.”
Wilson said when the organization was started in 2017 about 20 kids participated but over the past few years it has grown to around 40 to 50 kids.
Currently, there is a gap between coach pitch and high school baseball right now which forces kids to go to Carrington or Jamestown to keep playing.
“Hopefully with a new (ballpark) we generate a little more interest and foster more involvement and more teams,” Krapp said.
He said the biggest challenge for the organization right now is finding enough volunteers to help with coaching and keeping the kids involved in the sport.
Krapp said anyone is invited to bring their kids to Pingree for youth tee ball and baseball.
“It’s really no obligation. It’s like a $25 season entry fee,” he said. “So if a kid wants to try it out a couple of weeks and call the quits, you are out $25. We are more all about teamwork and having fun.”
Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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