Visiting a ball field sets you up for an experience like no other. If you're responsible for creating an outdoor baseball or softball field, it's important to plan out your project accordingly. To help you get started, we've created a general guide to baseball field construction.
Things to Consider When Planning Baseball and Softball Field Construction
Before you can begin designing an outdoor ball field, it's important to take a step back and assess your requirements for spectators, coaches and athletes. Baseball and softball fields look different based on their purpose and location. Some of the top considerations for your project are as follows.
1. Safety of Players and Spectators
Baseball and softball field construction calls for you to think about how players and spectators will move about the facility. From an athlete's standpoint, the eye is always focused on the ball. Creating level surfaces and padded barriers will help players keep their heads in the game. While professional ball fields are required to have padding, it's not mandatory for college stadiums. Placing durable pads along fences, dugouts and surfaces behind home plate can protect athletes from injury.
Spectators can typically sit toward the outfield, behind the batter or along foul lines during a game. Baseline fencing will help to protect attendees from getting hit by a wild pitch or foul ball. You can improve the spectator experience by investing in mesh fencing for visibility.
2. Uses for the Ball Field
The dimensions of baseball and softball fields change based on application.
If you're creating a baseball field, keep the following measurements in mind:
Tee-ball: Bases are positioned 50 feet apart. There are no homerun wall requirements for a tee-ball field.
Little League baseball: There should be 46 feet between the pitching rubber and the home plate. Place bases 60 feet from each other.
High school and college baseball: A regulation baseball field will have the bases spread 90 feet apart. The distance between home plate and the pitching rubber should be exactly 60 feet and 6 inches.
Consider these dimensions for softball field construction:
Youth softball (ages 10 and below): Ensure each base is 55 feet from the next. Leave 35 feet between the pitching platform and home.
High school and college softball: Regulation dimensions have baselines measuring 60 feet. Keep 43 feet of space between the pitching rubber and home plate.
3. Seating Arrangements
Think about how many spectators you intend to seat when creating a baseball or softball field. On average, you'll need about 4.5 acres of land to complete a regulation size baseball field with a 90-foot base layout. Softball fields with a 60-foot baseline typically require a minimum of 1.5 acres for just the field. Additional space is necessary for parking and any food stands.
4. Water Drainage
All baseball and softball fields fall under a native soil, modified native soil, sand-based or synthetic turf design. Grading down surfaces is necessary to ensure the playing field is flat. In some cases, professional builders will construct baseball and softball fields on top of sand and gravel layers to promote drainage after inclement weather.
5. Access to Experts
Field consultants and professional installers can guide you through the baseball field construction process. It's a good idea to hire a qualified surveyor. You'll also need someone to perform a soil analysis to determine whether you should treat or replace the native topsoils for drainage purposes.
Equipment and Materials Needed to Create a Ball Field
During the budgeting process, be sure to account for equipment and materials needed to host a game and maintain playing surfaces. Some of the items on this list are more expensive than others, but all are essential for the upcoming season: