Ballfield project en route to $90,000 goal

Friday, July 2, 2021
Alta-Aurelia school district Ballfield project has raised over $24,000 goal to date.

A sunny, summer afternoon, and the baseball field over behind Alta High feels like it is still soaking up the constant, daily rains that fell over the past few days. The path between home plate, and 1st base has a few puddles, and a bit of mud, but nothing that Alta-Aurelia head baseball coach Ryan Burkhart hasnt seen before. Burke, as he is known to friends, faculty, and students, teaches Alta High social studies during the school year, and has been at the helm of the AA baseball team since 2017. Ryan has established some successful precedents already, for the baseball program. The Warriors always seem to field competitive teams, but Ryan wants the program to go to the next level, and by all accounts, the team looks to gun for that. In 2018, the 10th ranked Warriors, under Coach Burkhart, made a trip to the state baseball tournament, the first time since 2012. And the team is hungry for more. As Ryan walks around the baseball field, explaining some areas that need upkeep, and revitalizing, the mood is polite, yet on point. Baseball season can be all-consuming, and the team, and its head coach, are getting ready to shift into another gear, ready to make another possible playoff run. In the mean time, there is work to be done on the field grounds.

Which is another project that Ryan holds close to his heart rebuilding certain areas around the home baseball field. If you follow AA baseball on Twitter, or Facebook, and read the many posts, you soon realize that baseball in Alta is a top-down effort. If its recognizing the many sponsors for each game, or showing some game highlights, the baseball program starts with the youngsters, to the high school players. Mentoring comes in at all levels, because these kids take ownership, knowing that their hard-earned knowledge will help build strength, and pride, to carry on a tradition. When Coach Burke says take pride in owning your baseball field, he certainly means it, and this carries over to everyone involved with the program. Now, there is a plan in place to do fundraising, so ground can be broken on building the new projects, by July of 2022. We are planning on building new dugouts, a new backstop, new dugouts, press box, and fan seating area. We are raising a lot of money through private donations from individuals, and businesses, as well as various fundraisers, says Ryan. Back on June 21st, fundraising efforts broke the $24,000 ceiling, on the way to a goal of $90,000.

Its been an all-in effort for the Warriors baseball community to get this project in motion, and while current results look good, there is some more road to hoe. We will have a wall of donors at the field, for any businesses and individuals who donate $500, or more, with the various tiers of donations on the donor wall, says Ryan. Ryan wants to make a delineation clear about other baseball sponsorships. The game ball, and fanzone sponsorships go towards our equipment fund, not the baseball field project. We have had some questions on that in the past, and I just wanted to clear that point up, says Ryan. The end goal for another run at the state tourney is in the minds of Warrior baseball players, as seniors play out their last games on a field with many memories, and underclassmen look at another shot for next years season, when this one concludes. But a nice part about working towards the field restoration project is the stress on everyone taking ownership, and pride, in keeping up the maintenance. I say to the kids that its your field, lets go take care of it, and they do, says Ryan.