Tupper committee works fast on pro baseball field

From left, Royce Cole, David “Haji” Maroun, Jay Skiff and Rick Skiff tear down first-base bleachers at the softball field in the Tupper Lake Municipal Park to make room for the “Pig Pen” party deck that will sit on the first-base line of what is planned to be the home field of a pro baseball team, tentatively named the River Pigs. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

TUPPER LAKE — Work on the Municipal Park softball field is going fast after the president of the Empire League signed a letter of intent to put a professional baseball team on the diamond once again.

On Wednesday evening four members of the River Pigs Baseball Committee were tearing down the first-base-line bleachers, saving some of the wood to repair the third-base bleachers, but mostly clearing the area for the planned “Pig Pen” party deck.

On Thursday the dugouts were dug out. The subterranean seats were filled in with dirt in 2001 or 2002 and they will be brought back into commission for the proposed team, which organizers say will be called the River Pigs. The crew used an excavator owned by Jason Roberge to dig out the dugouts.

League President Eddie Gonzalez said he signed the letter of intent recently, stating his shared interest with the village to bring a team to Tupper Lake, after he was confident the committee could properly retrofit the diamond to Empire League function and aesthetic standards.

Gonzalez said the league will officially launch the team name and logo sometime in September.

Jay Skiff operates a excavator owned by Jason Roberge as he uncovers long-buried dugouts at the softball field on the shore of Raquette Pond in Tupper Lake. (Provided photo — David “Haji” Maroun)

Village board Trustee David “Haji” Maroun started the push for a Tupper Lake team earlier this summer. His plan started to form just three weeks ago in July.

Work started fast, as committee members want to get many aspects of the field in shape before winter.

Rick Skiff, who also is also the president of the softball league, said he and his 10-year-old child started the work earlier this week by removing the outfield fence and getting it ready to be set up at its new distance. The distance is being changed from 420 feet to 375 feet.

Skiff said the next step will be for Kentile Excavating to renew the infield with black dirt and grass.

“Without them I wouldn’t want to even try this project,” Skiff said of Kentile.

Skiff said the renewed field will not just be used by the pro baseball team. It would also host run Babe Ruth and American Legion leagues, and possibly high school and softball games.

Due to the field being used for a team next season, Woodsmen’s Days will not be allowed to hold its events on the infield like it usually does. The village board said the event will have to be shifted down the park toward the Sunset Park Motel side.