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Ballfields at Cool Springs Park hit home run

164 teams projected for the year

POSTED: March 9, 2011 11:51 p.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Noah Gilreath waits for a good pitch Tuesday while catcher Drew Hudson leans out for the ball during a practice at the Sardis Sports Complex in northwest Hall County. New ballfields planned for Cool Springs Park are expected to give relief to facilities such as Sardis.

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During baseball season, the competition for practice time is often as fierce as the games themselves.

Families in the northwestern part of Hall County are hopeful the recently approved baseball fields at Cool Springs Park will help relieve the congestion at the Sardis Sports Complex.

There are few places for kids in that area of the county to play baseball and softball, which prompted the Hall County Board of Commissioners to vote recently to use sales tax funds to build baseball fields at the site of Cool Springs Park.

Terrie Hudson's son plays on the baseball team for 10-year-olds at Sardis and her husband is the coach.

She was glad to hear about the future fields nearby.

"You're going to have to travel no matter what, but it'd be nice to have another field closer to home," Hudson said. "I think any investment we make in our children can't be wrong."

Currently, her son's team is sharing the Sardis field with Lanier Elementary's team and several travel teams.

"We don't have any place to expand," Hudson said.

Tina Black's daughter just started playing T-ball this year and her son plays on the baseball team for 7-year-olds at Sardis.

Black said getting practice times on the fields is very difficult.

"You have to call at 8 in the morning on Tuesdays to reserve the field," she said.

Black said as a result, each team's practice time varies from day to day.

"So 7-year-olds practicing at 8 o'clock at night is not ideal," Black said. "It's difficult to get set times. It changes. There's just so many teams and so few fields."

She said frustrations have led her family to seek out baseball programs elsewhere.

"Because it's kind of crazy sometimes, in the fall we play in Forsyth County because they have nicer facilities," Black said.

She said having another facility would help the families in the area.

"That would be great, especially in the upcoming years," Black said.

Hall County Parks and Leisure Director Greg Walker said the county's baseball and softball programs have seen growth over the last few years.

In 2008 there were 149 recreational baseball and softball teams, including travel teams, which are teams made up of more serious players who compete against similar teams from other counties.

During 2009 and 2010 there were 152 teams. Walker projects that by the end of the year there will be 164 teams.

"It's usually about 12 or 13 kids (per team). We've got some rosters with as many as 15 or 16 and some with as few as 10 or 11," Walker said. "It's all registration-based. They just try to distribute them based on the numbers that sign up."

His department hears more concern about practice space from that part of the county than any other.

"They're limited without leaving that area of the county," Walker said. "I was glad to see that we will have those fields. I think it will relieve some of the pressure for the citizens up in that area of the county."

The commission voted in February to build the ballfields. The discussion came at the request of Commissioner Billy Powell, who asked commissioners to at least consider building the fields after they voted to halt work on the park.

The park was to include a playground, skate park and walking trails.



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