By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Davidson Park has become an epicenter for some high school baseball teams with five varsity teams using the two fields at the west Burlington location.
On many days, there might be multiple games taking place on the two baseball fields at the park.
Burlington Christian Academy, The Burlington School, Clover Garden School, River Mill Academy, and Greater Vision Academy have played home games there this season.
Tony Laws, director of the Burlington Recreation and Parks Department, said the city has made the fields available for years for some of the new baseball programs at the high school level.
“We try to help everybody,” Laws said. “Someday some of those schools may have their own fields.”
Jessica Hicks, a recreation department supervisor, helps oversee the scheduling.
Greater Vision, which is located in Gibsonville, is the newest addition to the lineup at Davidson Park. River Mill has used Davidson Park off and on in recent years, Hicks said.
Generally, only BCA and TBS hold practices at Davidson Park if there are no game conflicts. Laws said priority has been given to in-city schools.
Davidson Park’s baseball fields have shorter dimensions than most high school fields. Laws said the outfield fences are about 300 feet from home plate (as opposed to 350 feet on most high school fields).
Admission isn’t charged for those games at Davidson Park given the general set-up of the park, with other activities taking place there.
TBS coach Chad Holland said the Spartans have adjusted to playing wherever necessary to find a home field. Davidson Park has worked out, he said, particularly as the team can practice there as well.
BCA and TBS have played games at the city’s Burlington Athletic Stadium and those teams could schedule more there as well this year – usually in conjunction with the Burlington Sock Puppets, who are the main tenants at the city’s stadium.
BCA has more than half of its home games set for the stadium, an arrangement that comes with a rental fee.
“It’s the plight of not having a field,” BCA athletics director Rene Neff said. “We’re at the mercy of Burlington Recreation. Going to the stadium was a step of faith.”
A renovation project for what’s termed an entertainment venue is ongoing this spring in the right-field corner at the stadium. Because of that construction, temporary fencing is in place in that area of the field for games, something that Laws said isn’t ideal for some teams.
That issue should be resolved within a couple of months as that project takes shape and then the playing field should no longer be impacted, Laws said.
“For us, it hasn’t been a problem,” Neff said.
As a bonus, visiting teams feel privileged to play at the stadium, Neff said.
“They think they’ve hit the jackpot,” she said.
Middle school teams use smaller fields at Fairchild Park.
City recreation fields are also used for soccer games for some of those same schools. Plus, Cummings joined that list for some games this spring because of work at that school’s stadium.
Williams plays softball at Springwood Park, a city facility on the other side of the city – in fact in eastern Guilford County.
Laws said there are nominal fees for use of the city facilities. Williams has been exempt from those because of a reciprocal arrangement as the recreation department uses a few Alamance Burlington School System grounds for its programs, primarily as practice areas.
Burlington Athletic Stadium will continue to be used as one of two sites for North Carolina High School Athletic Association baseball championships June 2-3. Four schools will come to Burlington. After regional results, finalists in two classifications will be assigned for best-of-3 championship series in Burlington. The past two years, Class 4-A and Class 2-A finals were held in Burlington.