From Derelict To In Demand: Run-Down Ball Fields Get The Mar-Co Treatment

The customer

John Uildersma, President, Caledonia Minor Hardball Association

The challenge

The six baseball fields at Henning Park in Caledonia, Ont., had been neglected for years when Uildersma took over in 2015. “Some of the diamonds were made just by tearing up the sod and using dirt,” he says. “We didn’t have the proper material on the fields, or the right maintenance equipment.” To make things worse, Henning Park suffered a major fire that destroyed much of the existing equipment.

The goal

Starting mostly from scratch, Uildersma needed to renovate Henning Park’s ball fields and make sure the final products could stand up to all kinds of play, in all kinds of conditions. “We have everything from young kids playing T-ball to guys playing hardball, and even old-timers,” he says. As a community facility, he needed an affordable, long-term solution that offered a quick return on investment.

The process

Uildersma knew he wanted high-quality, professional-looking fields, so he went to a nearby baseball association that had just that. “I asked Jarvis Minor Ball how they kept their diamonds in such beautiful shape, and they pointed me to Mar-Co.”

He called Mar-Co, and they did a comprehensive site visit at no charge. “They spent a lot of time with us going over the diamonds, explaining exactly what we needed for the rebuilding process and educating our groundskeeper,” says Uildersma.

In the end, Mar-Co advised him on the purchase of all their new equipment, trained the staff to use it, and rebuilt four of six fields (two are still in the works) with Mar-Co Washington Ball Mix, field bricks, and mound clay.

The results

“I’d tell anyone who’s questioning the sticker price for Mar-Co mix that they’ll make their money back in no time,” says Uildersma. “The return on investment for us has been significant. I have more teams asking to rent the diamonds than ever before, and we’re hosting a lot more tournaments now. People want to play on these fields. The mix may seem expensive up front, but we’ve more than made our money back in less than two years.”

With Mar-Co Washington Ball Mix on the fields, the maintenance and repair costs have also decreased. “It’s a daily challenge to keep our diamonds up to the standards of a premier facility, but Mar-Co has made it so much easier,” says Uildersma, adding that the red clay makes the fields look great. “We think this is the best all-around mix we’ve seen for multi-age, multi-use baseball.”

With the optimal moisture control provided by Washington Ball Mix, heavy rain rarely stops anyone from playing at Henning Park. “We have very few rainouts, because the mix drains and dries quickly, allowing us to get back on the field. I’ll often hear that all the diamonds near us are rained out, and we’re playing two hours after a storm.”

With four new fields up-and-running and in heavy demand, Uildersma says Henning Park continues to rely on Mar-Co’s products and know-how. “They’re always there to answer our questions or deliver any materials we need. Mar-Co is our go-to expert.”

Who is Mar-Co

With more than 25 years of experience installing and renovating baseball fields across North America, Mar-Co is the industry leader. Whether you’re building from scratch or renovating your existing field, Mar-Co has the expertise and services to give you the best play for the best price.

To find out how you can get the home field advantage with Mar-Co, contact us now.