Baseball players and fans will enjoy an updated Dennis Senz Memorial Field this spring.
The Tomah Area School District is installing a new backstop and scoreboard in time for most, if not all, of the 2018 Tomah High School and American Legion baseball seasons. School district business manager Greg Gaarder is hoping the improvements will be ready for the THS home baseball opener Monday, April 2 against Baraboo.
The backstop became a priority after a pole on the third base side was bent by a gust of wind last March.
The $50,000 replacement will extend higher and keep fewer foul balls from flying into the streets and neighboring residences. Gaarder said foul balls were a safety issue not just for passing vehicles, but also for youngsters who crossed the street to retrieve them.
“Aesthetically, it’s going to look much nicer than the old one,” Gaarder said.
High school baseball coach Ryan Brookman said the leaning backstop “never impacted play, but it didn’t look good either.”
The new scoreboard replaces one with missing lights. The lights that did work were barely visible against the glare of the mid-day sun.
“The old one was beginning to be a maintenance headache,” Gaarder said.
The scoreboard will include a pitch count, a critical feature since the WIAA implemented a rule last season to limit the number of pitches a pitcher can throw.
Gaarder said future plans include drain tile for the outfield.
“Drainage is an issue out there,” he said.
Brookman looks forward to coaching games on the improved field.
“I certainly appreciate the district’s efforts to replace this equipment,” Brookman said. “In the past few years we have received a new batting cage, storage shed ... a new rededicated stone at the entry and a new backstop. The Senz Field location really looks nice.”