ON THEIR OWN TURF: Dad builds a stadium-quality field for his son’s baseball team


FORTVILLE — The words “home-field advantage” take on a whole new meaning for a Fortville man and his family who are building a competition-quality baseball field on their property, complete with foul poles, flood lights and a brick backstop similar to the one at Wrigley Field.

When Adam Wahl told his wife, Andrea, he was going to build a modest baseball field for their 9-year-old son Peyton and his travel league baseball team, she thought it sounded like a good idea as long as they stayed on budget.

“I told him to go ahead and do what he wanted to do,” Andrea said.

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They decided to construct the field on the nearly four acres they own in the 4000 block of Fortville Pike, a Kris Bryant line drive from their house and back yard.

The baseball diamond was supposed to cost around $5,000, and that was a firm figure for the budget, Andrea said. They had planned to use the money to thin out and level the farm field that used to grow soybeans and corn, add a little infield dirt and a chain link backstop, and call it a day. But, somehow, the project took on a life of its own. Now, some $60,000 later, there’s a one-of-a-kind baseball field where Peyton’s 10-and-under travel team, the Indy Cubs, can practice and play whenever they want.

“After everything really got going, my wife thought I was nuts,” Wahl said. “But, she was the one who said we might as well go all the way and add the grass turf outfield.”

The field is complete with its own irrigation and drainage system. Wahl brought in 50 loads of fresh dirt to smooth the field. It has a beautiful brick backstop, resembling the one at Wrigley Field, newly installed infield and outfield turf, a real dirt mix infield, foul poles and flood lights. It eventually will have an outfield fence. They’ll be adding dugouts, bleachers, a concession area and maybe even a flag pole so players can sing the national anthem before games.

“They’ve been enjoying all this, and it’s going to look so nice when it’s completely finished,” Andrea said.

She also likes the fact her son and husband can step outside and not only play catch whenever they want, but hit and practice fielding any time, day or night.

The official Little League-size field can also be expanded with the group of boys as they grow older and reach high school age. The hope is the group will stay and play together and develop for years to come and someday help the Greenfield-Central baseball program.

Wahl, who played baseball when he was a kid, gave up the sport in high school, but looking back wished he hadn’t, he said. He wants to give his son and other kids on their team a place where they can really learn as much about the game as they want for as long as they want to.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Peyton said. “It looks pretty good.”

One of Peyton’s teammates, Andrew White, said the field is neat because it’s in a back yard, a really big one.

Wahl said if the team is going to be a good travel club, they have to give it their all. With their own field, it can only help.

“We’ve played travel ball at some great facilities. Don’t get me wrong, they’re fine,” Wahl said. “But, we were looking for a place to practice and play anytime we wanted, a place we don’t have to worry about getting booted from or rained out.”

The team plans to start hosting games as soon as this fall and get into as many double-headers and maybe even host some round-robin match-ups.

Eric McAllen is one of the coaches on the team and thought Wahl was joking when he first heard he was going to build the kids their own field. McAllen quickly learned when Wahl gets an idea about doing something, something good is going to happen.

Wahl also has a few friends who are already lining up to help care for the field, which will have to be cut and manicured on a regular basis so it doesn’t get overgrown or develop weeds.

“This has turned out to be even more than I could have expected,” McAllen said. “We’ve already got teams scheduled to come out and play us here.”

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“After everything really got going, my wife thought I was nuts. But, she was the one who said we might as well go all the way and add the grass turf outfield.”

Adam Wahl