Representatives from local groups that helped with improvements at Art Morris Park this spring. Justin Wilson (left), president Sooke Minor Fastball Association, Mike Hicks, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director, Megan McMath, Sooke councillor, Dean Haldane, Sooke Community Association, and Len Sudlow, past president SMFA. (Contributed)

Volunteers restore, upgrade softball field in Sooke

Drainage, new infield material part of work

The aging softball field at Art Morris Park has gotten more than a facelift. Thanks to local businesses, volunteers and politicians, it’s a whole new ballgame.

“From a field aspect, it’s a pretty big win overall,” said Justin Wilson, president of Sooke Minor Fastball.

Over the last year, Sooke Minor Fastball raised more than $25,000 for drainage and excavation work at Art Morris Park Field No. 1, as well as adding new purpose-made infield material to the infield.

RELATED: Funding offered to improve Sooke fastball pitch

The Sooke Community Association, the owner of the field, contributed $15,000, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area chipped in $2,500 and the District of Sooke $7,500. Sooke Minor Fastball also added funds from its sold-out craft beer and spirit festival held earlier this year.

“The project couldn’t be completed without these funds, and the volunteers jumping in,” Wilson said. He especially credited Clay McClimon of 4M Bobcat, and Neil Jay of Sooke Slinger for their volunteer work in getting the field ready for the start of the season in early April.

But there’s still work to do.

“We’ve got one of three fields done. I’d like to see the others get the same work,” Wilson said.

Meanwhile, more than 160 youth are playing with Sooke Minor Fastball this spring on 13 teams. The teams range from under-6 to under-16.

“It’s a good number and sustainable,” Wilson said. “The sport is really healthy in Sooke.”

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