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Northern Virginia Girls Softball Association

In the Spirit of Sportsmanship

Field Care After Use

To minimize issues, after the last usage event of the day, it is MANDATORY to follow these best practices at ALL fields:

Best Practices Following Field Use (Game or Practice)

  • Spot rake and smooth out the infield dirt all high-use / high-traffic areas:
  • Batters boxes
  • Catcher / Umpire area
  • Pitching circle
  • Running/sliding pits leading to and departing from all bases
  • Spot rake and smooth out any areas where players may have played with dirt (writing words/symbols with feet, gathering dirt into mounds, etc.)
  • Spot rake and smooth out any areas where buckets, nets, other equipment left indentations in the infield dirt.
  • Following the last game of the day, rake out all chalk lines (batters boxes, baselines, pitching circle), as rain combining with lime causes it to cake and clump.
  • Clean out dugouts
  • Close and LOCK field boxes
  • Turn off field lights, if necessary

Best Practices for Field Lining

  • Leave a gap of about 6-12" between the outfield grass and the end of the 1st and 3rd base foul lines. Getting lime into the grass makes cleanup/removal of that lime extremely difficult. This is especially problematic if the foul line is not perfectly aligned with home plate and the outfield field pole at HS / park fields. [On a personal note, I always found it easier to line foul lines by starting near the OF, then lining toward home plate, rather than starting at home plate.]
  • Avoid all other instances of dropping/spilling lime into grassy areas. For example, do not fill the liner in the grass. Do that outside the field.
  • The use of string to create straight foul lines is encouraged, however, if you have to line without aids, consider standing up a bat as the end-point target location of the line.
  • Pitching circles are 8' in radius from the pitching rubber, and will be in different places for 18u, 12u, and 10/8/6u. Rake out and re-draw the pitching circle as necessary if a field is shared by different age groups back-to-back.

General Raking Best Practices

  • The goal of raking is to create a smooth, even surface to minimize water collection on the infield.
  • IMPORTANT: Always rake in parallel to grass borders. Pushing dirt toward a grass border (e.g. the outfield) can create a dangerous lip which can cause sharp ground balls to shoot up into an outfielder's face (see Wakefield Park #8). Also rake in parallel at the grass/dirt border near the foul lines.
  • Think golf bunkers and not gardening - raking should only affect the very top surface of the infield. Do not "till the soil". The only thing you will find inches under the infield is more water.
  • NEVER rake standing water.
  • NEVER rake a ditch or path for water to drain off the field. This creates future runoff issues.
  • DO NOT RAKE if you are leaving footprints deeper than 1/4" in the area being raked.
  • DO NOT RAKE if the infield dirt is forming large clumps. This is a sign the infield is too wet to rake.
  • To dry out an infield, the ideal raking process is to just slightly turn over the top 1/4" of dirt. Then the air and sun conditions can quickly dry out these turned over areas. In this situation it's best to rake at minimum 1-2 hours before field usage. 
  • Rake baselines perpendicularly to the direction of running, being careful not to push dirt into grassy border areas along 1st and 3rd base lines.
  • Rake pitching area parallel to the rubber (e.g. 1B - 3B direction, not home plate to 2B direction)

Contact Us

Northern Virginia Girls Softball Association

NVGSA Softball, P.O. Box 523432
Springfield, Virginia 22152

Email: [email protected]

Northern Virginia Girls Softball Association

NVGSA Softball, P.O. Box 523432
Springfield, Virginia 22152

Email: [email protected]
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