Bear Creek Township, Luzerne County -- Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Head Groundskeeper Steve Horne usually rides the ball field conditioner at PNC Field. He made an exception on Friday. Horne and about a dozen other volunteers with the RailRiders organization showed up at Bear Creek Little League field to give it a makeover. It's one of several fields that the New York Yankees affiliate has helped recondition in recent years. "A lot of the little leagues have the same issues. Lips on the infield grass going into the dirt which can cause some rough ground balls," said SWB RailRiders Operations Manager Rob Galdieri.
The edge of the infield isn't the only rough area the RailRiders crew fixed. The batters box and the pitching mound needed serious repair. "When you get a kid falling into a hole on the pitchers mound game after game and you try to fill it in, there's only so much you can do," said Bear Creek Little League Secretary and coach John Kozerski. Between labor and materials, the field fixes would have cost Bear Creek Little League thousands of dollars. But the RailRiders chose the league as the latest in northeastern Pennsylvania that it would help for free. "We're a small league and we can use all the help we can get and the field gets beat up year after year and this is fantastic," said Mr. Kozerski.
While the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders crew uncovered several trouble spots here at Bear Creek Little League, one surprising thing they found existed between the pitching mound and home plate. That part of the field wasn't lining up right with the middle of the diamond. The RailRiders Operations Manager used measuring tape and string to get the proper dimensions. "It starts home to the mound to second base and then you can get third base and first base off of that," said Mr. Galdieri.
9-year-old Bear Creek Little Leaguer Jeffrey Kozerski is eager to take the field that is now fixed by the pros. "That will be pretty great because I get to field ground balls more instead of them popping up at my chest." The Bear Creek Little League All-Stars will be the first to use the fixed-up field. They have a practice on it scheduled for Saturday.