Deep in left field where his varsity team plays, Aaron Moore walks across another lumpy, soggy patch of grass. He tries to not step in the mud while mentally making a note of one more thing to put on the list.
The list, now almost 50 items long, is a gnawing reminder of how much there is to do to rebuild Los Alamitos High School’s baseball program from the field up.
Los Al’s new head baseball coach started it shortly after he took over the program in July.
At a time when most coaches would be focusing on learning the names of their players and evaluating talent, from day one, Coach Moore has also charted a course for an ambitious plan to repair, replace and remodel most every part of the high school’s baseball facilities.
“We’re working hard with players six and seven days a week at all levels to establish a new, intense and winning brand of baseball on the field. At the same time, everyone involved with the baseball program is also working behind the scenes to raise the money we need to build a solid foundation that will allow us to be successful in the long term,” said Moore recently.
“But some days, it feels like we’re trying to rebuild an airplane in mid-flight,” he said.
Like most facilities in the school district, Los Alamitos High School is showing its age. The 43-year-old campus has a long list of needed repairs from one end to the other.
The baseball facilities are no exception.
Moore’s list includes big ticket items like a new irrigation system, dugouts, bleachers and a backstop.
The current PA system is non-existent and nobody can remember the last time the scoreboard worked.
But the list has lots of little things on it as well. There is a real need for new netting, tarps and hitting mats in the batting cages.
Field rakes and brooms, infield and baseline drags, tarps and protective pads also need to be replaced.
“Things wear out over time. Other priorities take precedence. That’s just the nature of things. But we’re at a point where we can’t hold off any longer. We need to make investments in the baseball program now before things deteriorate any further,” said Moore.
Making the list was the easy part. Tapping into sources of money to pay for items on the list is where the real challenge exists.
Budget cuts in the Los Alamitos school district and in school systems throughout California are well documented. That means virtually no money is available through traditional means to fund improvements to the baseball program.
There are other avenues, however, and the most notable of these is money that is available through Measure K. Measure K is the district’s facilities bond that was passed in November 2008 provides $2 million for athletic projects.
While that’s a source of good news, the baseball program is still at a disadvantage compared to other applicants.
Measure K uses funds to match donations by athletic teams, booster groups and community sports groups to make improvements at secondary schools’ athletic facilities in the district.
For those groups that have been aggressive in fundraising, their prospects for matching funds are good.
Unfortunately, because of changeovers in the program, fundraising is just kicking into high gear.
“This is far and away our best opportunity to shorten the time it will take to make repairs and reach our goals. But we are on a very tight timeframe to raise funds in the community so we can qualify for Measure K money,” said Moore.
Moore has identified six specific projects that could be funded by Measure K: irrigation system repairs ($41,700), a new backstop and netting ($39,900), new artificial turf including preparation and installation; skirt and apron, and infield ($101,700), new batting cages ($7,500), and a new scoreboard ($21,700).
The deadline to submit applications for these projects is Friday, Dec. 4.
For more information on the Los Alamitos High School baseball program, visit www.griffinbaseball.org.