Sports

Little League haven taking shape

"While Ray Kinsella built his field of dreams in the matter of weeks, it's taken six years and counting for the Eastern Little League complex to start taking its form.Kevin Costner's character tore up his cornfield to build a field in the movie Field of Dreams.Eastern Little League volunteers only wish it would have been as easy as following a voice that said, If you build it he will come.For volunteers such as Mike Hoskins and Tom Herstad, the voice they've had to go by is, Build it when you have the money.After six years of putting their heart and soul into building a nine-diamond complex for teams ranging from t-ball to big league (18-year-olds), the hard work is starting to pay off.Work is nearing completion for Minor A and Major ballfields.While the surroundings are still unfinished, Hoskins said progress has been made.One field is ready, Hoskins said. We still need to finish up the parking lot and power lines.For t-ball and Minor B teams, they will be able to call the Manchester complex home this summer.We're really close to getting the Minor A field done, Herstad said. We need to get more sand and some more fences. The backstops are there. We have grass growing, and of course we need bleachers, but that will have to wait. They're pretty expensive.Poor weather didn't deter people from showing up to the opening ceremonies Friday evening.More than 300 parents, coaches and players weathered a meet the teams presentation for teams in T-ball and Minor Little League.Without a working microphone Hoskins used the top of his voice to get the message across that one day this complex will be a top facility that will host teams from all over the region and nearby states for various all-star tournaments.What has kept this project from faltering has been the constant help from volunteers through donations or labor.How fast this complex gets up and running depends on the commitment from volunteers, Hoskins said.If everyone can spend three or four hours volunteering a lot can be accomplished, Hoskins said.Raising money has been the biggest stickler.For example, the complex has 3,000 tons of sand in place. It seems it would be easy to get the remaining 12 tons but we can't buy it right now...it'll cost $100,000, Hoskins said. If we can get sand by May we could be practicing on the fields and not have to play at the schools (which charge money).Herstad said there is hope a grant from Major League Baseball could alleviate some of the financial strains.We'll apply for as much as we can get, Herstad said. We should know by the end of the summer.So far, more than $70,000 has been donated via money, equipment, or materials.Anyone interested in volunteering or donating money can contact Hoskins at 340-0491. "

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