Valley Rises to Challenge to Restore Beloved Softball Field

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EL CENTRO — Debbie Pittman Field has seen its fair share of softball action over its 50 years of existence – along with considerable wear and tear. With the 2016 Imperial Valley Girls Softball League season around the corner, IVGSL president James Clark, the city of El Centro, and private citizens of El Centro and the Imperial Valley have been hard at work upgrading three of the four softball fields at Pittman Park.

“I could not be more proud to be a part of our community after seeing a project like this come together. No matter how hot and uncomfortable it was, we always had a crowd of volunteers. No matter how busy the local businesses were, they fit us into their busy schedule,” said Clark of the community’s willingness to contribute to the field upgrades.

Having been built in 1964, the field has hosted many youth league tournaments and games, as well as a women’s league, continuously providing El Centro families a place to execute their craft and love for softball. There are currently four softball fields in the Debbie Pittman Park complex, including a newly rebuilt field for the under-six athletes.

For more than a year, Clark has been working with the city to provide the fields with upgrades and improvements. Some fields had become just dirt and rocks, forcing games to be canceled during even light winds because of low visibility and asthmatic issues.

Finally, enough was enough, and in the beginning of June, multiple companies and citizens throughout the Valley stepped up and began to lend a helping hand.

“The City of El Centro was digging for extra budget money to help us out. We even had businesses calling us and wanting to donate materials. You don’t find that kind of support in many places,” said Clark.

Notable donations of time and supplies to the field upgrades include:
Elms Equipment – donated equipment needed for the renovations.
Jeremy Havens (Havens and Sons Trucking) – donating time, equipment and vehicles, plus purchased and delivered soil for the field upgrades.
BPS – donated PVC needed in the upgrades.
Jimmy Abatti Mad Jac Farms-  time, equipment, materials and resources.
Granite Construction – employees donated their time and labor.
Garibaldo Fencing- contributed the fencing needs and labor for the upgrades.
IVGSL parents Brent Delong, Darrin Thomason, and Gabe Infante donated sprinklers along with Rain for Rent’s donation of sprinkler supplies.

Carolyn Maness – who’s outstanding effort in the snack bar helped tremendously in raising the funds needed to make the improvements to the fields

“We would also like to give a huge thank you to Chris Legakis (city of El Centro Parks and Rec supervisor) and the City of El Centro,” added Clark.

Because the upgrades moved on schedule, the IVGSL League will begin its season with first games scheduled for September 6 and online registration is currently available at www.ivgsl.com.

“The Imperial Valley truly has special people, especially when it comes to helping our kids,” Clark added with gratitude.