Tides undertake Driver field repairs

Published 10:40 pm Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tides volunteers, from left, Anthony Ackiss, Corry Gross and David Ludi get busy with power tools at Driver Sports Complex Thursday.

Bennett’s Creek Little League’s Driver Sports Complex was a hive of activity Thursday when volunteers from the Norfolk Tides rolled up their sleeves to refurbish facilities.

The volunteers descended on the baseball fields behind Driver Elementary School after the little league won the opportunity for much-needed upgrades in a Facebook competition.

Fan votes on the Tides’ Facebook page put Bennett’s Creek in third place behind Ocean View Little League in Norfolk and the Smithfield Recreation Association. All three fields will receive upgrades, with the work starting this week.

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Ben Giancola said the volunteers under his direction were focused on completing as much work in the single day as possible.

“Right now we’re replacing the tops of both dugouts (on the Challenger division field) and the roofs,” he said.

The major aspect of the project, he said, was to level the infield whose steep grade had been problematic for some of the disabled Challenger division players.

“There was a major steep grade (and) this is the field they use for the Challenger division, the kids in wheelchairs, and the approach to the playing field was a little steep, so we’re doing our best to level it,” Giancola said.

Getting everything done in one day was akin to a backyard makeover reality TV show, he said.

The dozen or so volunteers arrived with a rental truck carrying their equipment and towing a trailer with a tractor used in the field leveling.

They barely had time to talk, rushing around with materials, hammering away on the roofs and leveling earth.

“It’s a big project so we’re going to do the best we can with the time we have. We did a field (elsewhere) yesterday and we’ll do another field tomorrow,” Giancola said.

According to Bennett’s Creek Little League President Chip Ambrosino, next on the Little League’s wish list are restroom facilities to replace the portables now doing the job.

The sporting organization’s 2012 season launch was held at Driver Sports Complex on March 30, with a large crowd of parents and children turning out to celebrate.

Ambrosino says Bennett’s Creek has 25 teams and 330 registrations this year, along with “a bunch of sponsorships.”