Maintaining baseball and softball infields at city parks and recreation facilities is no easy task. For us at Sports Field Solutions, the question often comes up, “How often should we laser grade these baseball and softball infields?” Let’s take a look.
What Determines the Frequency?
High traffic, high use fields should ideally see their infields graded annually. If budget is a concern, never stretch it beyond two years, but be ready to sweat the small stuff to keep those infields in playable shape. That said, the frequency of laser grading isn’t a one size fits all deal. It depends on the level of field maintenance, frequency, and intensity of play, and the age and caliber of athletes on the field. Little leaguers might tread lighter, having less impact on the playing surface, but older and larger athletes will leave a mark. The less attention a field receives and the more action it sees, then the more often it will need to be laser graded.
Why Do We Laser Grade?
Picture game days with fewer rainouts, trouble spots are ironed out to avoid safety hazards, and there is no need for hefty, wallet-draining applications of quick dry or a need for mid-season renovations. These are the key benefits of laser grading. Infield skins bear the brunt of cleats, wind, and rain creating low spots across the playing surface, but particularly in the infield position spots and running lanes. Over the course of a year, materials migrate, channels can form, and poorly maintained fields are sure to become a mess after rain events. This can lead to event cancellations and lost revenue.
Player safety is a top concern in all sports and for us at Sports Field Solutions, “safety” isn’t just a buzzword. Laser grading creates a flat, uniform surface that provides true hops and sure footing. Regular grading eliminates the lips and dams around your infield transition, causing unpredictable hops and hindering water runoff. Uneven terrain and footing risks sprained ankles, and loose material poses as slip hazards. For fields catering to multiple age groups and levels of play, base anchors become exposed as low areas form around bases. Unearthed and sticking above the surface, these exposed anchors become extremely dangerous safety hazards.
Here’s the deal: laser grading your infields should not be viewed as a one-off luxury, but as a regular, cost-effective necessity to prevent costly repairs and renovations down the line. Laser grading infields every one to two years will help to save a significant amount of money. Beyond two years' time, your field will likely be in need of a significant renovation. Grading issues will extend beyond the skin, not only demanding extra materials to get your infield back to grade, but will require additional sod work to remove large lips that form around the infield transitions, baselines, and extending well into the outfield grass. The additional work to get your field back into safe, playable condition can see renovation costs escalate upwards of $20-25,000, or more.
Ready to touch up your infield and create momentum for the year ahead? Contact our team of experts to help with your laser grading needs because when it comes to infields, precision matters. Let us upgrade your playing surface today!