After a soggy week, the weather finally improved, just in time for the first ballfield clean-up day sponsored by Homewood Baseball and Softball (HBS) on Saturday morning.
Families pitched in scooping gravel from walkways at the ballpark near Izaak Walton Nature Preserve. They picked up twigs and other detritus left behind by winter winds and generally tidied the grounds. Batting cages were repaired and some field maintenance was started.
Organization official John Blasgen said most of the field maintenance would have to wait for the area to dry out more. Although the wet spring weather is creating a challenge, the mild winter helped some.
"We're in pretty good shape," he said. "We didn't get crushed over the winter."
The organization mobilizes all its volunteer potential to get the work done before opening day on Saturday, April 22, when the 11 a.m. parade kicking off the season starts in the 1800 block of Ridge Road and continues to the ball fields for the first games of the season.
Parents are required to log hours helping with clean-up and preparation for the season. Ballplayers and their siblings pitch in, too. Two more clean-up sessions will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 8 and April 15.
Even some former HBS parents continue to help.
Brian Duntz was on hand Saturday, although his son and daughter who participated in HBS leagues have now moved on.
"He's our go-to field guy," Blasgen said, noting that Duntz has been helping with spring prep work for a decade.