D-G-F parents and volunteers build new baseball field from scratch
DILWORTH — Decades ago, there's a good chance a chunk of land on Dilworth's south side of the tracks was planted in the spring and harvested in the fall. Now, the athletes at D-G-F Schools will have their own "Field of Dreams" to play on.
The soybeans on this field have been harvested and are in the bin, but in the Little Italy neighborhood, south of th Dilworth the field is a much talked about diamond in the rough.
"We kind of adopted it as our practice place," said Jason Wardien, one of the volunteers who help raised the money for the new field. "It was just a wide-open, grassy field."
"We basically started from scratch, we had to talk with the city first. This is city property, this is not our (DGF Athletic Club) field by any means. We wanted to help with the city and try to develop something where kids could come and play and where all of our DGF kids wouldn't have to go to Moorhead or Fargo to play," Wardien said.
For the last few months, an army of volunteer parents, like Jason Wardien and Jared Hoover, along with help from local contractors, turned what was a dilapidated and forgotten pasture into the first Little League/Cal Ripken field in town.
"It's 46 feet from home plate to a T, what the dimensions are for a Little League Field," Wardien said. "Everyone knows about the field down in Iowa, that the movie 'Field of Dreams' was made of. When we brought our kids out here three years ago, this field was corn. We practiced all summer long, and there is nothing cooler watching kids play baseball with 6 - 7 foot tall corn in the backfield, this truly could be Dilworth's 'field of dreams.'"
The boys and girls who will first play here next spring will have some angels in the outfield to thank, like longtime Dilworth Public Works Supervisor Don Vogel and Moorhead's Lloyd Paulsen, a local philanthropist and Wardien's great uncle. Both men put money and hours into taking the field from dream to reality before they died.
"Lloyd was my great-uncle and the best man I have ever know, and Donny jump-started something way bigger than we ever imagined, our home field," Wardien explained.
The bases are on the way and the Agri-lime is down. The dugouts will be finished in the spring, just in time for 8 and 9-year-olds to play ball.
The city has even agreed to bring bleachers out for part of the summer for the fans at the new ballfield. The Dilworth Lions, City of Dilworth, Randall Excavating, Opatril Concrete, Newman Signs all helped the DGF Athletic Club in the build.
"Home is home, it is where you go and when you have something like this out your back door, you are going to come and play," Wardien said.