Riverhead Little League will renovate middle school ballfields

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riverhead Little League wants to help refurbish the ballfieds behind Riverhead Middle School.

The Riverhead Little League will begin renovations on two ballfields at Riverhead Middle School next week to create more space for teams to play.

The new plan will include new dugouts built into the middle school baseball field, as well as new fencing, irrigation, regrading and possibly sod for both fields.

“We had met with the school district on a number of occasions, we kind of bounced around from a series of locations,” said Riverhead Little League president Tony Sammartano. “We all came to the conclusion that the best location is going to be the middle school area.”

The Little League received a worklist for the construction from the district Tuesday and will begin renovations at the softball field next week, he said. Renovations to the baseball field will begin in mid-June, after school programs have stopped using the field.

Mr. Sammartano said the 60-year-old league, which will likely have 500 participants and 28 teams this year, needs more fields. And while town officials have assured him the fields at Enterprise Park at Calverton would soon be open, Mr. Sammartano said the Little League couldn’t take any chances.

“We’ve been promised for two years that [the fields at EPCAL] would be open,” he said. “Basically we can’t wait on EPCAL anymore so now we’re moving forward.”

Funding for the new fields, which will cost nearly $27,500 to renovate, will come partially from the school district’s bond money but mostly from donations to the league.

Mr. Sammartano said the league is looking for donations of supplies to help with the construction effort.

“We’ve been doing fundraising for all of last year,” Mr. Sammartano said, adding that both fields should be completed by August and at least the softball field will be used during the 2012 summer season.

The league has also offered to open the fields up to the smaller Flanders Little League, though it’s not clear whether they would use the fields. Riverhead Little League will start its season in early April and run through early August.

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