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T-Ball field set to get overhead lighting

By Catherine Godbey 340-2441

As the Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox continue World Series play under the lights this week, local T-Ball players watch in awe.

When the 2008 T-Ball season begins April 1, like the major leaguers they watch on television, for the first time stadium lights will shine on the 5- and 6-year-olds.

After Decatur's National League T-Ball teams encountered difficulty finding available fields for practice and games, the league's board budgeted finances to build a field solely designated for its youngest players.

A field of their own

The field, completed for the 2007 season, opened flexible scheduling and increased availability for the T-Ball teams.

Outfitted with dugouts, bleachers, and a scoreboard, the field at the Bill J. Dukes Baseball Complex at Point Mallard Park, contains all of the amen-ities of the National League's other baseball fields, except

The field lacks overhead lights, which allows nightfall to interrupt teams competing in games scheduled later in the afternoon.

"We've had issues about it getting dark on us, especially early on in the season before the time changes," said Brad Burroughs, president of the National League Board.

Decatur's Parks and Recreation Department plans to address the issue by erecting overhead lights at the field, said Jeff Dunlap, director of the Parks and Recreation Department.


"We're working with Decatur Utilities to schedule a time to check out the layout," explained Dunlap.

"We definitely want the lights up before the season starts, and once we know the project's amount we will request approval from the mayor."

Dunlap expects to receive the field's lighting design, established by DU, within the month. The design will drive the project's estimated cost.

The National League Board recognizes and appreciates the interest the Parks and Recreation Department evokes in improving the local parks.

"We've been very lucky over the past couple of years to have worked with the Parks and Recreation Department," Burroughs said. "They have been very generous to us, and we are very grateful."

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