Tonawanda News — Tonawanda Little League is making big changes this offseason, hoping to improve the facilities and playing conditions at the diamonds on Frances Drive.
A brand new garage is being constructed to house all of the league's equipment, product, tools, machines and sponsor signs, and one of the fields is being ripped up and reconfigured to support both 46-60-foot and 50-70-foot dimensions for player ages 8 to 15.
The old, 440-square-foot garage was beyond repair, according to head groundskeeper Bob Vogt, who recommended to the TLL board of directors that the organization upgrade to a 1,575-square-foot unit because it made more sense.
"What we were noticing was that when we take down the (sponsorship signs) and put them in the small blue shed they would get damaged," Vogt said. "A part of this new garage is going to be dedicated solely to the sign preservation."
Changes are underway on the fields, too, as the league races to finish the remodel before the first snowfall.
Young ballplayers making the jump from the major division (11-year-olds) to juniors and seniors (12-, 13-, 14-year-olds) usually have a difficult time making the transition because of the bigger fields. There is a significant adjustment between 46 and 66 inches for a young pitcher, and 50 and 90 feet for position players running the bases.
Vogt said the intermediate 50-70 field is the perfect solution and offers kids a more regimented jump.
"A normal little league world series that you see on TV is 46-60 feet," Vogt said. "Some kids were having trouble with such a big jump. Now we have more of an intermediate division. We're moving home plate up about 12 to 13 feet and then moving everything back. The fence is going to be 220 in left field ... This will dual as a 46-60 and 50-70 diamond, so we'll have two sets of bases all around. We're also going to have two mounds."