PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY)- Countless boys and girls have learned the game of baseball at Cradock Little League in Portsmouth, including league president Frank Thomson. “I played here many years ago and have great memories. It’s a great community with great volunteers,” said Thomson.
Thomson now shares that childhood memory with his kids including Brayden. “My kids play here now and I am just thankful that I can share that experience with them.”
But after all these years and all these games, the shape of these fields became pretty bad. “Before the Tides got here we did the best we could. We have a very dedicated grounds crew and the city does what it can, but we really have limited resources,” added Thomson.
That’s where the Norfolk Tides come in. Heather McKeating said the field needed a lot of work. “They had some really bad lumps going from the infield to the outfield which caused the infield not to drain. So we shaved that down. Then we measured their first base, second base and third base and the pitcher’s mound and only first base was the right distance. We had to reshape second base and replace third base. We then rematched the mound to home plate.”
As part of their 3rd annual community youth field renovation, members of the Tides staff along with help from Goodwill, Cradock Little League got a much-needed makeover. “This is our third year of making over a field in Hampton Roads and its a great contest. We do it every year. Its a great way to get baseball in people’s minds in the cold of winter,” added McKeating.
Along with the field makeover, Goodwill jumped on board to use the opportunity to help more people in need. Danielle Cronin from Goodwill was after old sports equipment. “We felt it was a great opportunity to gather old and gently used sports equipment and be able to offer it in our retail stores. It’s another way to contribute to the sport as well so its available to anyone regardless of the cost of the equipment.”
As for young Braden Thomson and the rest of the kids at Cradock Little League, they now have a championship field they can be proud of and one that plays sound and safe. “There’s not as many ridges in the field, so the ball doesn’t take as many funny hopes,” said Braden.