Breaking ground on another turf project

  Huge upgrades are on the way for Sterling High School baseball and softball facilities. As it was announced in September, both varsity fields will be receiving a total renovation which includes turf to replace the natural surfaces.

  Most of the athletic venues at S.H.S. have been updated within the last decade, with the exception of the baseball and softball fields. Instead of just doing one or the other, the decision was made to conduct a total facility upgrade to both fields to ensure that all existing venues are up to date. This procedure will be ongoing over the course of the fall and the winter to hopefully have this done by mid-March.

  S.H.S. Athletic Director Tyler Jakse contracted AstroTurf to put their turf product into field seven at Gartner Park and the varsity field at the S.H.S. Softball Complex. Yet that is not all that is planned for this upgrade. Other plans for both fields include new batting cages, new coats of paint on both press boxes, updated dugouts, and new fencing around the fields.

  “Change is hard,” baseball head coach Darwin Nettleton noted, “and not all change is good. But with the constant weather watching in Northern Illinois in the spring, this is a phenomenal change. Our players are fortunate to have this opportunity”.

  Weather was a significant problem last spring, with countless games being postponed or canceled due to either rain or lightning. It felt as though that on every game day, there was poor weather playing a factor in the cancellation of a game. The softball team was especially unlucky, with games being postponed or canceled an astonishing 22 times over the course of the 2022 spring season.

  “It would be less likely to cancel home games since the turf can’t get muddy, only slippery,” softball player Katie Dittmar described, “Lightning, super heavy rain, and the cold would affect it”.

  Besides the fact that games will be less likely to be canceled, there are other benefits of the turf.

  “Hard hit balls get through the infield and gaps in the outfield much quicker,” softball head coach Donnie Dittmar mentioned, “There are less bad bounces on turf, but you do have to be aware of the spins and hard hit skipping balls that aren’t as much of a factor on grass.”

  Both teams will open up their seasons on Tuesday, March 14th at their respective newly-renovated facilities, when they host Newman Central Catholic High School at 4:30 p.m.