Town improving infield

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— Hayden baseball and softball players now can slide into home plate without sacrificing their bodies.

The town of Hayden last week added 190 tons of Firestone red infield mix to the east playing field at Hayden Valley Elementary School.

For three years, the Hayden Recreation Board has wanted to improve the two fields, which have become rocky and uneven with years of hard play. This year, with the help of funds from Triple Crown, the town was able to budget $14,000 for new infield mix.

Triple Crown contributed $5,000 to the project, including fees the organization pays to use the fields each summer as well as extra funds, said Lindsay Heer, Hayden recreation coordinator.

The improvement will help keep Triple Crown teams coming to Hayden and also will benefit residents.

"It's for players' safety," Heer said, noting that the fields are scheduled for different league games throughout the summer. "We have a lot of kids and athletes playing ball, and we don't want them to injure themselves on a poor playing surface."

The mix, delivered by the Hall-Irwin Corporation of Longmont, is designed to absorb water and is used on fields in Steamboat Springs and Craig.

Both cities lent their leveling machines to Hayden Public Works crews for the project.

This fall, the town plans to reduce the size of the infields at both fields. The project hopefully will leave enough infield mix to improve the west field, Heer said.

-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com.

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