Chippewas to play at least some of this baseball season at Rietz Park

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MANISTEE — Manistee’s Rietz Park, longtime home of the Manistee Saints, will be a little busier than usual this spring.

In addition to the Saints’ games, which begin over the Memorial Day weekend, the park will host home games for both Manistee High School and Manistee Catholic Central.

Assuming the weather allows them to ever play high-school baseball this year.

Rietz Park is the regular home field for MCC, but Manistee will play at least a few of its home games there due to a situation with their on-campus baseball diamond.

The baseball diamond at Manistee High School needed to be leveled and graded, especially on the infield, but the company hired to do the job used fill dirt that contained large chunks of rock and concrete, rendering it unusable for baseball.

The school has contracted another firm to re-do the field, but the weather has prevented their being able to start work. The new dirt has not yet arrived at the field.

Manistee head coach Dave Edmondson said that whether any games can be played on campus this season is completely up in the air at this point. Edmondson said that the original firm is paying the cost of the repairs to their unsuitable work.

“It looks like gravel, to tell you the truth,” Edmondson said. “I don’t even know what the time-line is on the new dirt, so I don’t know how soon we can get it down. It might not be a bad idea just to stay off that field for a couple of months, because the new baselines and grass lines we put in are still pretty soft.”

It will be a homecoming of sorts for the Chippewas, who played their home games at Rietz Park until the current on-campus diamond was built shortly after the construction of the current high school.

Saints general manager Phil Kliber said that Manistee is welcome to play it home games at Rietz Park for the rest of the season, or any other time.

 “We wish they had never left,” Kliber said. “When both schools were playing there we had high-school baseball there three days a week in the old days.”

The first high-school games of the season scheduled for Rietz Park have already been postponed, starting with Manistee’s doubleheader against Pine River tomorrow, April 18 and MCC’s twinbill against Big Rapids Crossroads on Thursday.

Kliber said that the first scheduled game at Rietz Park that could possible be played is Manistee’s doubleheader against Ludington on Tuesday, April 24.

But it doesn’t look good.

“If it got to 75 degrees overnight and everything melted, they wouldn’t be able to play, because we haven’t been able to get on the field to clean it up,” Kliber said. “We’re going to need some dry weather to get the infield playable, because when the snow melts it’s going to be a mudhole.”

Kliber said that three different attempts to work on the field at Rietz Park have been postponed, and that a group of volunteers, including players and coaches from both Manistee and Catholic Central, will try again on Sunday, April 22 at 1 p.m. Anyone interested in helping will be welcome.

“We can use all the help we can get,” Kliber said.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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