JOPLIN, Mo. — The wet spring the four state area experienced this year made it difficult for softball and baseball teams to complete their seasons. In particular, it really caused problems for Joplin Little League, since the fields they lease from the City of Joplin are located on a flood plane.
Chris Keller, Joplin Little League coach and board member, says, “Obviously here at Landreth [Park] we got quite a bit of flooding. It completely ruined our south field, tore out a bunch of dirt. We were able to get the north field back and operational, but the south field is a long ways from that.”
Severe flooding this spring has thrown a wrench in Joplin Little League’s season, forcing the organization to spend time and money on field cleanup.
Nathan Horton, Joplin Little League president, says, “Anything that needs to be fixed or replaced, built or repaired, it falls on us so that just comes directly out of registration fees that kids pay, and the sponsorships that businesses provide.”
It’s a frustrating situation. The league is planning on building several new fields at a different location to avoid flooding issues. However, dealing with the current flood damage is putting them in a bind.
Horton says, “We have to make decisions now about do we repair things here or save that money for the new fields we want to build on another property we own.”
Keller says, “We’re trying to build new fields to try to get out of this flood plane so we don’t have to keep dumping money into something that’s gonna get ruined every time it rains hard, so it definitely keeps us spinning our wheels so to speak.”
Currently, the league only has one operational field, which allows teams to make up missed games so they can qualify for next week’s playoffs. It’ll have to do for now.
Horton says, “It’s just not really feasible to stay in this location for too much longer because of the construction, the water flow, and the way it comes down here, it’s just gonna force us to have to move.”