Before the Class B state amateur baseball tournament, tournament director Jim Johnston said he guessed that 12 to 15 home runs would be hit in Mitchell.
The total number of home runs hit in the tournament this year was eight in 37 games, including the Class A tournament games in Mitchell.
In previous years, Johnston said between 36 and 45 baseballs would leave Cadwell Park, but this year was the first year that Class B players were using wood bats.
“Eight home runs is not very many,” Johnston said. “When everyone talked about if Cadwell Park should move the fences in, I would say wait until the state amateur tournament. So now I think, ‘is eight too few?’ ”
Johnston said he worries that fans enjoy seeing home runs and that the excitement of the tournament could be hindered by the lack of long balls. However, Johnston said reactions from players seemed to be that the dimensions of Cadwell Park are fine where they are at.
“I have not talked to one player that wants to bring them in,” Johnston said. “I’ve talked to players on about every team at the tournament.
“It was my thought originally that we needed to move them in, but does it take away from the game or add to the excitement when a guy does hit a home run?”
With the fences 340 feet away down the foul lines, 374 feet in the left- and right-field gaps and 420 feet to straight center, Johnston said Cadwell Park stands out from other fields.
He added that many players like playing at places that have unique characteristics, and Cadwell’s spacious outfield sets it aside from others.
The roomy outfields also leave more opportunities for players to make outstanding catches.
“We saw some great catches at the tournament that were pretty exciting,” Johnston said.
During the state tournament, players and fans seemed to celebrate more on homerun balls than they normally had because they knew it was a more impressive feat with the wood bats, Johnston said.
“Is eight homeruns in 37 games too few? Probably yes,” Johnston said. “But 42 home runs in one tournament is too many and it’s a fine line. If you do bring the fences in, you still have to leave it a challenge to hit one out so it’s not a homerun derby and I don’t know where that is.”
Johnston said he doesn’t foresee any changes to the dimensions of Cadwell Park, although the option is still there. He said work is planned for the scoreboard at the field that will wait off until the Mitchell Baseball Association is sure where the fences will be. He said the final say on any changes would have to go through the Mitchell Parks and Recreation Department.
“My guess is it ain’t moving,” Johnston said. “If that’s the way the players want it, that’s the way it’ll probably stay.”Talk about it