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Could Sunnyside have a field of dreams?

As many in the community know, long-time Sunnyside resident Bob Sarmiento Sr. is an avid fan of the sport of baseball.

Sarmiento recently approached Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell about the possibility of building Little League baseball fields at South Hill Park.

"We need a partnership with the city," said Sarmiento. "The fields aren't regulation. They have no pitching mounds.

"Some of us would like to see Little League play in Sunnyside. It's one way to develop our kids into good ball players, so when they get to high school they are able to compete.

"But we need the proper facilities," Sarmiento added.

Stockwell said the discussion about developing Little League baseball fields at South Hill Park followed a discussion he had with Sarmiento about SunnyView Park for an upcoming softball tournament.

Stockwell said using South Hill Park for Little League games is something that has been discussed before by others.

"The ball fields at South Hill Park were originally built for baseball use in the 8-12-year-old age group," said Stockwell.

The city already uses the fields at South Hill Park for recreation department sponsored T-ball and other baseball programs, said Stockwell.

Stockwell said three of the four fields at South Hill Park are large enough for Little League play. The city manager said a fourth field at South Hill Park has an outfield that is too short for regulation Little League play, but can be utilized as a practice field.

For the fields at South Hill Park to be used for Little League, the city would need to add pitching mounds and groom the infields differently, said Stockwell.

South Hill Park could be a good location for holding Little League baseball games, said Stockwell, citing how there is good access and adequate parking at the park.

"The basics are already in place," said Stockwell, "and with assistance from those leagues that would use it, the remaining needs could be addressed."

Stockwell said for the city to move forward with converting the fields at South Hill Park for Little League play, there would have to be a sufficient interest from those involved.

"If there is sufficient interest and a commitment to assist in developing and maintaining the fields, we are willing to consider adding Little League to the park," said Stockwell.

According to Sarmiento, he and other advocates have already secured the promises of donations of man hours...from people willing to bring their heavy equipment in to turn the existing South Hill Park fields into regulation Little League fields.

Stockwell said the city does need to be cautious about taking on any new park projects that the city isn't able to properly maintain.

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