Batter Up! ORBA gives ballfields a makeover

Parents, coaches and players of Oxford Recreational Baseball Association volunteered Saturday morning to clean up the two baseball fields at Scripter Park in Oxford Village. Above, father-and-son Tom and Fisher Gooses give a dugout roof a fresh coat of green paint, dontated by Sherwin-Williams on M-24. See the story on Page 2! Photo by J. Hanlon

By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Parents, coaches and players of Oxford Recreational Baseball Association volunteered Saturday morning to clean up the two baseball fields at Scripter Park in Oxford Village. Thanks to their efforts the fields are looking sharp for the 2021 season.
The annual spring cleanup was extra involved this year. “Normally our cleanup is volunteers and hand tools,” said ORBA’s director, Matt Ryan. “This year we brought in professionals to revamp the field. It might have been 15-20 years since these fields have been cut fresh like they are now.”
A crew from one of the league’s sponsors, Madison Heights-based Site Development, Inc. resurfaced the infields with a skid steer.
Other volunteers did landscaping, roofing and painting the dugouts, fence repair, and general weeding and beautifying. “We work in conjunction with the Department of Public Works,” Ryan said. “They maintain the field, do the trash and mow, and we try to do the upkeep on the rest of the stuff. It’s pretty cool, it’s just volunteers that make it happen.”
Ryan said there were some extra-charitable sponsors this year. “We had a couple donors who sponsored a couple teams, but they didn’t want their businesses on them,” he said. Instead, they put up the names of local nonprofits. “So, they get a sponsorship and they get a marketing push, but they didn’t have to pay for it.”
“It’s a good day. A lot of parents came out and brought their kids so they all learn the value of the hard work and all that.”
Chuck Curtis founded the league in 1953, when it was known as the “Oxford Midget League.” Today, ORBA has leagues for ages 4 through 18. Because of the coronavirus, ORBA didn’t have a regular season last year. Instead, they hosted a series of drop-in games called “Oxford Sandlot.”
This year it’s back to normal, with facemasks required. Practices have already started, and first games start around Mother’s Day. The season will continue through the week before July 4. Registration has closed, except for the senior league (ages 15-18).

Corrugated piping like this protects players from the top of chain-link fences. From left, Will Wiggins, Owen Curtis, Ryan Curtis and Matt Wiggin installed the fence cap around the ballfields. Photo by J. Hanlon

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