CHESTERVILLE — Much work has been undertaken at the Chesterville Community Ball Field to make it suitable for Cal Ripken Baseball older division play.

April 27 is opening day for the area Cal Ripken Baseball program.

In previous years games were usually held at the field in West Farmington, Danielle Plancon, a member of the Chesterville Recreation Committee said Tuesday afternoon, April 9. “West Farmington is going to do the minors games this year, they are having us do opening day for majors because we are the only field right now that is ready for 50/70 play in Franklin County.

“It’s kind of a big thing for our little town.”

According to the Cal Ripken Baseball website, the major division is recommended for youth 11 and12 years old. Major 70 features a 50 foot pitching distance and 70 foot base paths, is an option to the major division format, and includes a tournament trail from district competition through the World Series in Branson, Missouri, at Ballparks of America featuring eight International Champions, it notes.

The National Anthem will be part of the opening ceremony, concessions will be available, Plancon noted. “We are hoping everybody can get over here from the West Farmington field by noon, have the opening ceremony and then start playing at 12:30,” she said.


Donations for the Chesterville Recreation Department may be made at Ron’s Market in Farmington which has an account, Plancon stated. On opening day, North Chesterville Extension Homemakers will be holding a bake sale where donations will be accepted and there may be a 50/50 raffle and a raffle table to try to win a gift basket, she said.

Work began on the ball field last year.

“In the fall we used tractors to cut back the infield so that it will be 70 feet between the bases instead of 60 feet and they are moving back the mound to 50 feet so that they can have the majors play at a higher level,” Plancon said.

“We are working on getting some yellow topping for the top of the fence for safety,” Katlin Hilton, Deputy Town Clerk and committee member noted. “We are doing fundraisers, things like that. It’s pretty expensive for that.”

Plancon said David Gray had checked on the bleachers, they had only been there a couple of years. “We felt those were in good enough shape to wait on [upgrades],” she noted. “We are working on getting the equipment we need. Line chalkers, drags, landscape rakes. The mound and bases we already purchased. Those were a big chunk of our budget.”

Work has been ongoing on getting the field playable, Plancon said. More fundraising is planned to bring in money for advertising, signage, putting roofs on the dugouts, fixing seating areas ant things like that, she noted.


“We did get a very generous amount from Franklin Savings Bank,” Plancon stated. “They are giving us money towards building a shed. We are working on that, whether we are getting a prebuilt or possibly working with [the building program at Foster Career and Technical Education Center].”

The Chesterville Community Ball Field was created in 1989, Hilton stated. The town received a grant to help fund it, she said.

The field is in memory of Charles Wheeler and Elwood Harris who coached baseball teams for several years.

“Elwood was a coach, I think it was 25 years,” Rolene Harris, his widow, said Tuesday. “He did it up until he got sick. He will have been gone 21 years in June.”

Rolene didn’t think Elwood played baseball as a youth, she didn’t meet him until he was 14. The couple had four boys who all played, one of their two daughters played softball, she stated.

“Most of the kids from Chesterville wanted to play baseball,” Rolene said when asked why Elwood decided to help build a ball field. “They played with other towns after he started coaching. He always bought the kids hats and everything. I know all the kids loved him. Back then you didn’t have to pay to play ball.”

Wheeler helped coach sometimes, owned the field where the original ball field was, Rolene stated. “They had it over across the road first, then they went to the schoolhouse,” she noted. “I know the field has been there ever since. My youngest son played on the old field, none of them got to play on the new one.”

Rolene said her grandson Brian Harris and his kids got to play on the new field as did his twin sister. “I have 43 great grands and 18 grands [children],” she added. “We got married at 16.”


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