Softball field renovation postponed from original plan


Leyla Vilic

The OHS softball field is undergoing many changes and improvements to the field itself and the dugouts.

Oakville High School had made plans to renovate the softball field on campus this year, but sometimes plans don’t always go as scheduled. 

With the chaos of the previous year finally dying down, some new problems have arisen, most nearly starting with Prop S. This proposition, according to the Mehlville School District website, would generate about $35 million in order to fund necessary renovations like security entrances, refined accessibility for individuals with disabilities, restroom renovations and improving the softball field.

Facilities Director Mike Gegg told Call Newspapers that “it’s gonna be an upgrade” consisting of regrading the field, redoing damage, as well as adding new fencing and a new irrigation system. Due to complications, the project was pushed back, affecting the practices and convenience for girls softball during the fall. 

With upgrades to the field beginning during this school year, it didn’t allow the Class of 2022 to experience the changes for their last season, and it didn’t give them a chance to play on it. 

“It was honestly heartbreaking seeing Oakville’s field in such terrible condition since my freshman year,” Carlie Huelsing (12) said. “The dirt on that field couldn’t take a drop of water. Puddles greeted our cleats and white socks would be caked in mud by the end of the game.”

The pushback date of fixing the field has left softball to scramble for a new place to practice. Transitioning from Oakville to another open field in which the girls can practice on has proved to have produced some difficulties for the team, but worked out in the end. 

“We had the opportunity to use SMMA as a tryout location for both JV and varsity over the summer,” Huelsing said. “Progressing through the first few weeks of school, the softball team started using both SMMA and Affton Athletic Association for practice. To put our experience at said locations in simple terms, we made use of the facilities available.”

Huelsing is “proud to call Oakville our home away from home” and to have the opportunity to practice on fully functional and developed fields, but one of the players on the varsity team, Mary Tutwiler (11), thinks the only problem in practicing at SMMA is “some of the younger people don’t have as many rides.”

“One of the hardest parts [of practicing somewhere else] is probably trying to figure out how I’m going to get to a game or practice,” Reagan Kemp (9) said, “since I’m not old enough to drive yet.”

With softball’s season coming to an end, the team has adapted to the struggles and find enjoyment in the simple fact of playing after the chaos the pandemic caused the previous years. 

“For my senior year, I expected the worst out of this year due to COVID and my experience with the COVID protocols via sports,” Huelsing said. “I am more than thankful that we are able to play this year.”