UNA baseball field gets much needed resurfacing

UNA’s baseball field, Mike D. Lane Field, recently underwent an approximate $23,000 touch-up.

The baseball field was resurfaced a couple of weeks ago to help with the day-to-day upkeep and to make the infield more playable, coach Mike Keehn said.

“The biggest problem was that our field held water and if the tarp was not on the field, we would have to spend a day or a few days to get the water off and infield dried out,” he said. “The (baseball) team will still be responsible for field maintenance and it will be our job to keep the playing surface at the level it is now.”

Senior pitcher Austin Carpenter said previously it was a pain to take care of the field and now he thinks it will be easier to maintain.

“I think (the new surface) will drain much better now,” he said.

The resurfacing project, completed by Southern Athletic Fields, took over a month to finish.

“They had to completely re-grade the infield, as it was off by quite a bit,” Keehn said. “[Southern Athletic Fields] put in all new sod, redid the mound, the home plate area as well as added dirt and conditioner to the infield. They also added additional warning track material to bring the area up to match the infield grass.”

The resurfacing will not only help with field maintenance, but may eliminate some baseball hops after the ball is hit that have been known to occur.

“There were times the field could get a little bouncy, especially later in the season as the ground became more solid,” Keehn said. “I am hoping the surface will play much truer than in the past.”

Carpenter said he is glad to see the resurface of the field because before the infield was not level.

“The home plate area was actually higher than the mound,” he said. “They removed a lot of the dirt which leveled out the field. Now the home plate area is lower than the mound like it’s supposed to be.”

Keehn said UNA is in good hands with the company that resurfaced the field.

“Southern Athletic Fields do all sorts of athletic fields, including minor league facilities as well as a lot of the larger schools,” he said. “They currently have been working on the turf at the Titans stadium, so they are very familiar with athletic fields.”

SAF’s professional baseball clients include the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves.

The maintenance to the field is also another small step towards Division I, Keehn said.

“We all play on fields that have their issues, you just have to adjust,” he said. “If we do go Division I, [the field] was going to be an issue, so this will help if and when we go in that direction.”