State of the Quarry

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sixofdiamonds
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State of the Quarry

Post by sixofdiamonds »

The Quarry ball field is owned by the Eureka Quarry. It was leased to Andy Suder (snack bar) back in the early 80’s. Andy maintained the lease and I sublet the ball field from Andy. What a lot of league members never knew was my hands were very much tied with what I could do with the ball field. Anything outside of regular season softball had to be approved by Andy. I won’t get into the particulars of the situation, but I think you get the idea. I wasn’t calling the ball field shots.

Andy’s lease with the Quarry, and in turn my lease, was always for 1 year and no more. This made any serious investment for me very risky. From a business standpoint, it makes no sense to invest a large sum of money into an entity you may lose in a period of time substantially shorter than the time it would take to recoup the investment. Andy retired and I now have full control over the Quarry. I managed to get a 3-year lease this year. We are good through the 2023 season at the very least.

As I mentioned in the most recent Year in Review Magazine this past January, new and improved LED ball field lighting is on the agenda. I would have liked to do it a lot sooner than now, but it took an incredible amount of research. I also had some personal issues I needed to tend to.

There is quite a bit to learn about ball field lighting and I am far from an expert. I did a lot of reading and talked with a lot of people. With help from wife Joanne, who is like a bulldog when it comes to ferreting out information, I became very well informed. It would be nice to have professionals come in and do it all, but the league can’t afford $40,000 or $50,000 and league members can’t afford higher league fees. I did pay for a professional photometric study to be done based on the number and height of the existing poles. I am now armed with the knowledge of how many fixtures should be mounted on each pole and the direction those fixtures should be aimed. With help from Craig Henderson, Tim O’Shea and Zach Martin we will get the job done for ½ that amount, maybe even less. The fixtures could arrive as early as the 1st week in October. We will need at least a full Saturday to take the old fixtures down and put the new fixtures up.

We currently have 39 1000W metal halide fixtures. The plan is to replace those fixtures with 26 500W LED fixtures. LED lighting is more powerful and distributes light more evenly without glare and they don’t take 15 minutes to come on. They come on instantly. There is also a plan to install 2 fixtures beyond the foul territory area on the 3B side and another on the parking lot side.

If you’ve ever played under the lights at the School Road ball field in Hatfield, you’ve appreciated how well lit that ball field is. Surface light is measured in footcandles. I purchased a light meter that measures footcandles and took readings of both Hatfield and the Quarry. The average footcandles on the Hatfield infield is roughly 20 with the outfield a little more than 10. Not bad.

Metal halide lights suffer light degradation after only a few years. The Quarry fixtures are 40 years old. I knew when I measured the Quarry lighting it would be abysmal. To the base paths, the average footcandles is around 10. Shortstop and 2B averaged less than 5. The entire outfield measured not more than 4. Once the new fixtures are in place, the charts below depict the projected footcandle amounts at various locations in the infield and outfield. The outfield will be 3 times as bright as it is now and the infield at least twice as bright.


Fixture Diagram

Image

Infield Footcandles

Image

Outfield Footcandles

Image

As you can see, the lighting situation will be better than it has ever been. Even better than Hatfield.

As a side note, once the season is over in mid-November, I will have a crew out there shaving down the area where the infield meets the outfield. The plan is take the shaved dirt from the deep infield area and use that dirt to fill in the depressed area where the infield transitions to the outfield. Sod will be installed. The only obstacle to getting this job done will be Sean Nonemacher. Nonny insists he wants the lip to stay and he plans on laying his body on the ground so we can’t do the work. He says he uses that lip as a launching pad when diving for batted balls.
TK15
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by TK15 »

Gotta give credit where it’s due. I’m sure I speak for a lot of league members when I say thank you for hearing our gripes/suggestions and acting on it. The quarry is my favorite field to play league softball and this definitely helps keep it that way.
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sixofdiamonds
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by sixofdiamonds »

Thanks TK. I only wish I had this freedom years ago.
Flash
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by Flash »

I never had any problems with the lighting, I'm more excited to hear about the dirt redistribution. Any idea how extensive that work might be? I love the quarry but trying to reach your cut-off man from deep in the outfield is brutal with the uphill factor
Frank13
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by Frank13 »

TK said it best! Can’t wait for the new lights. Thanks Les for all you do.
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sixofdiamonds
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Re: State of the Quarry

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Flash wrote: Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:43 pm I never had any problems with the lighting, I'm more excited to hear about the dirt redistribution. Any idea how extensive that work might be? I love the quarry but trying to reach your cut-off man from deep in the outfield is brutal with the uphill factor
If you can't reach the cut-off, the cut-off is not doing his/her job. Tell him/her to get off his/her ass and come out at least 1/3 of the way.

Unfortunately, the uphill throw will be there for as long as the ball field is there. While the drop-off will be lessened by about 12-18”, the uphill throw from the outfield to the infield will remain just that, an uphill throw. Getting the Quarry level or even close to level is not an option. It would require a serious re-grading. We would have to jump through all sorts of hoops involving engineers, permits, Warrington Township and who knows what else. The cost could run into the tens of thousands of dollars and softball would have to be put on the shelf for at least a year.

When we moved from the Garden Golf ball field to the Quarry in 1999, the entire field sloped from the 1B line to the left field fence at a grade of more than 3 percent in some places. Infields should slope no more than .5 percent while the outfield 1 to 1.5 percent. At almost 4 percent, the water from the parking lot would run hard across the infield and create massive gullies rendering the field unplayable. The first thing we did in 2000 was to install a swale (soft depression) with a French drain in foul territory running the distance from home plate down and out along the fence line. You can see it if you look for it. That stopped a lot of the water from running on the field, but not enough. We placed telephone poles on the ground in front of the player's benches to help divert some more of the water. That was still not enough to stop the gullies from forming in the infield. We then had no choice but to add infield mix to raise the area from the middle of the infield back toward the outfield grass to lessen the grade. That worked, but it created a slight drop-off. We also ‘crowned’ the infield so the water would run toward the baselines and out along the 1B and 3B fence. You can see the crown if you look for it. With the addition of infield mix over the years, the drop-off gradually increased to the point we are today. We can't shave the infield down too much, because it would increase the slope to an unacceptable grade and gullies would once again begin to form. If you look from home plate to 2B you would swear the grade goes uphill. The fact is, the infield drops almost a full 12” (1.8%) from home to 2B.

The Quarry ball field slope is a bittersweet thing. It’s a trade-off. The field grade is one of the main reasons we play at the Quarry when other fields are unplayable. And, while the outfielders have an uphill throw, the batters enjoy an easier time of hitting the dinger. Much like in golf when hitting from an elevated tee box, you have to club down. I think it’s ‘subtract one club for every 15 feet of elevation change’. That’s because the ball stays in the air a lot longer and goes a lot further. Sorry home run hitters. You’re not hitting them as far as you think you are at the Quarry.
Flash
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by Flash »

GIven that my rare homer at the quarry usually is within 6 inches of NOT clearing fence, I rescind my question. In fact I think the infield could stand to be raised a few more feet!
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sixofdiamonds
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by sixofdiamonds »

Now that's funny!
Geno8121
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by Geno8121 »

Appreciate all the time and work you’re putting into the Quarry. One of the things my outfielders ask all the time. Is their something that can be done about the numerous divots in the outfield? I know that might be out of the question but their are so many holes in the outfield I can imagine how many injuries that could prevent? Might not be as crazy as a job as leveling it but just chopping and flattening? Maybe I’m asking more that can be done! As usual thank you for what you do!
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sixofdiamonds
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by sixofdiamonds »

That's a big ask. Even if we could get rid of the divots, they'd only come right back. It's just wear and tear. MLB teams play 162 games in a season, 81 of which are on their home field. Think about it. 81 games over the course of 7 months. The Quarry sees 81 games in a little more than 3 weeks and we've got 4 outfielders running around out there, not 3. It's an uphill battle. No pun intended.
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blouderback
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by blouderback »

Nice work, Les. Looking forward to the improvements!
Bull69
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by Bull69 »

Nice work Les ?
Shit he won't be 60 ft in the air lol
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sixofdiamonds
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by sixofdiamonds »

Damn right! The only way I'm getting 60' off the ground is by elevator.
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sixofdiamonds
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by sixofdiamonds »

The Quarry light fixtures are sitting on a ship at the port of San Diego waiting for a dock to open. Based on that, the company has set the shipping date as 10/4. We have a shot to get them on the following Thursday or Friday and if I can line up everyone and everything, the lights will go up on 10/9. If not, the 16th looks pretty good.
Bull69
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by Bull69 »

Gonna be the 16th unless your gonna go up there
I will be away
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sixofdiamonds
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by sixofdiamonds »

Lights are stuck at the Port of San Diego. Now I can only hope they get here for the 16th.
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sixofdiamonds
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by sixofdiamonds »

I'm sorry to say the Quarry light fixtures are still on the West Coast, caught in the supply chain BS. I won't get them in time for installation this year so we will hold off until Spring 2022.
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sixofdiamonds
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Re: State of the Quarry

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We are moving ahead with the infield/outfield trim work once the season ends. Tim O'Shea will create a soft grade from midway between the baselines and where the infield meets the outfield. The shaved infield mix and topsoil will be used to fill in any outfield drop-off that remains. Sod will be installed.
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sixofdiamonds
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Re: State of the Quarry

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The new ball field light fixtures for the Quarry are and have been in my possession for a few months now. As soon as the ball field and surrounding area dries out to the point where a lift truck can get out there, the new LED lights will be installed. I know some people have made negative comments about the lights not being up yet. Well, there's a simple explanation for that. We can't install the fixtures until the weather allows us to do so AND I am able to coordinate things with the installers. If I live to be 100, I will never understand how some people can live in such a perpetual state of negativity. As the old adage goes, negative people need drama like oxygen, so I will stay positive and take their breath away.

The Quarry infield drop-off was reduced dramatically in late November. As a result, the transition from infield to outfield is much improved. Unfortunately, it was a little too late for sod, and the seed we put down didn't take effect as I had hoped. We are getting a little run-off of water which is carrying some infield mix to the outfield. This is actually alright because it is helping to lessen the grade in the shallow outfield. The lone drawback is without grass to hold things in place, tiny gullies are forming.

The plan right now is to heavy nail drag the infield to level things out, rake where the infield has washed to the outfield and throw some seed down. If only 1/2 the seed takes hold, it will help a lot. We also plan to drill large holes wherever there are depressions that cause water to pool and fill the holes with infield conditioner. This 'drain pit' will absorb the water and keep it off the field. A small trench along the 1st and 3rd base lines in foul territory, also filled with infield conditioner, will help any surface water drain out.

Years and years of dragging, wind, and water run-off have enlarged the dirt infield and diminished the outfield. Come November, a crew will be out there to delineate the infield with a curved line measuring 65' from the pitching rubber. Everything inside that line will be the dirt infield. Everything beyond that line will start the grass outfield.

I may need a few helpers at the end of the softball year to push a rake around for a few hours. If so, it will be worth a league fee credit. If more than a few hours, 2 league fee credits. If you are interested in signing up for this fall 'rake detail', reach out to me via email. Deadbeats need not apply.
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sixofdiamonds
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Re: State of the Quarry

Post by sixofdiamonds »

The Quarry ball field was heavily nail dragged today. I have to admit, that field never ceases to amaze me. After a week's long rain, some of it heavy, and rain until 10:30 this morning, by noon the field was dry enough to get a large 4-wheeler on it and a half an hour later it was playable. Tim O'Shea put a serious scraping on the infield. The high spots were taken down. The low spots were filled in. After a finishing drag, I will say this, 'the field looked damn good'.

My gut tells me the balance of the ball fields will be good to go for tomorrow morning. But, in the event of an unlikely situation, please check Twitter or Facebook before you head out.
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