WALLA WALLA - As they round the bases at Borleske Field this spring, another seamless transition from football to baseball has taken place this.
Maintenance Supervisor Tim Duncan said it's a job that starts the previous year in late fall, usually right after the last Walla Walla High School football game.
"The biggest thing we have to do is mark it out. We actually physically paint it on the grass so we know what sod has to be removed," Duncan said.
The next step is to remove about 12,000 square-feet of sod - which is given away to the community - to create running lanes, a dirt infield, a home plate circle and the pitcher's mound.
Once the grass is gone, highly prized 18-year-old Redmond clay is brought in.
"First thing we do is build the mound. And we have red clay that we bought a long time ago from Redmond," he said.
The clay gets packed and then covered for the wet season.
"That red clay won't dry out as quickly," Duncan said.
Then dirt and sand is brought in and the infield is graded. The entire process usually starts the first Saturday after football is done, and the job is usually completed by the following Tuesday, Duncan said.
"That's it in a nutshell, it sounds a lot easier than it actually is," Duncan added.
Of course, the entire process is reversed after the Walla Walla Sweets last game in the summer.
The dirt and sand are scraped up and stored, along with the precious Redmond clay, and new sod is purchased and laid down for Wa-Hi football, all in even less time than it took to create the ball field.
"We have gotten it down now to where we can probably have the field prepared for sod in one day. And that is working 12 hours and with a bigger crew because the Sweets help," Duncan said.
People interested in getting free sod in the fall need to contact Duncan to get on the list; notification is usually given about a week before the sod is to be removed.
For more information, call 527-4350.