After three weekends worth of tournaments, Great Bend Recreation Commission Assistant Director Chris Umphres said feedback on the new Great Bend Sports Complex turf has been very positive.
The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference held its baseball and softball tournaments at the facility over the weekend. Even though the tournament was delayed two days due to persistent rainfall, Umphres said the delays were not a result of the condition of the turf.
The teams didn’t want to play in the downpour of rain but the field itself was completely playable as soon as the rain was done, he said.
GBRC staff received positive feedback on field condition following the adverse weather. Tournament organizers told Umphres the field played more cleanly all-around than the dirt infields under similar conditions in past years. Even in the weather, fields required only light maintenance between games.
Mark Hoffhines, KCAC sports information director, who attended the past weekend’s tournaments, echoed Umphres’ sentiments. He received no negative feedback from coaches or player. He said the conference was pleased with the overall improvements the turf fields made to this year’s tournament.
In addition to the KCAC tournaments, the new fields also hosted two previous tournaments. Another positive sign, Umphres said, is that the complex has also been used recently as a neutral site for two high school games, Sylvan Grove vs. Bucklin and Russell vs. Satanta. The feedback from those schools was positive, as well.
With several events in the books, including some in adverse weather, the turf surfaces have met Umphres’ expectations.
“That was the main concern, being able to play through storms, and then (not having) safety concern of bad hops, everything played as advertised.”
The Sports Complex will host one more tournament prior to hosting the Kansas High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) 2-1A State Baseball and Softball tournaments May 26-27. Spectators need to be aware in attending events at the facility sunflower seeds and other shelled nuts are no longer permitted at the site.
After having a cashless gate due to COVID-19 precautions at last year’s tournament, KSHSAA will once again be accepting cash at the gate for entry this year.
In addition to tournaments, GBRC baseball and softball leagues are scheduled to begin practices next week at the complex and other facilities across the city. “By adding another 40 teams to the mix in a week it’s going to be pretty busy.”
Though the turf has held up well, crews are addressing some damage to shade structures at the facility caused by recent wind storms.