20 months after the start of the Grovehill Ballpark project, work on the baseball diamonds in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire will commence this Monday, 2 March 2009, immediately after Sunday’s Herts Baseball Club Open Trials and exhibition game between the GB Juniors and the Herts Falcons.
This first stage of the project will involve the installation of the outfield fence for the existing baseball diamond and the second diamond which Herts Baseball Club is creating this year.
This would make Grovehill Ballpark the first baseball facility in Great Britain with two diamonds which have permanent outfield fence.
The outfield fence will be Chainlink coated in green PVC material (example image shown). It will include a double top-rail system to support the weight of outfielders making a leaping catch at the fence.
Herts players who returned to the field a few weeks ago for the start of outdoor Spring Training noticed the fact that the football pitch beyond left field has been moved by 21 feet to make space for what will be one of the deepest baseball outfields in Great Britain. For Diamond 1 the distance to Left Field will be 312 feet, 363 to Center Field and 265 to Right Field.
Work will begin at 1pm on Monday with the installation of the posts. This will be followed by the installation of the actual Chainlink fence on Wednesday. This stage of the project is expected to be completed by the end of the week, which means that when Herts players report for split-squad training on Sunday, 8 March, they will have a brand new permanent fence installed.
This project is partly-funded by the National Lottery’s Awards for All programme, with the remaining funds raised by members and friends of Herts Baseball Club.
Due to the timing of the next step of the project, which is the levelling of the playing surface of the second diamond, the installation of the backstop for the second diamond will have to be delayed to coincide with that next stage. The reason is that the backstop will be located on a slope which will be levelled in the summer and installing the backstop before that levelling process is going to be difficult, so the Club has chosen the less risky option of waiting until the summer. As a result when there is a clash of adult home games at Grovehill during the 2009 league season, Herts Baseball Club will be making arrangements to stage such games at other baseball venues located nearby. The second field is expected to become fully operational for the start of the 2010 season.