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Del Oro High renovating baseball field’s facilities

Project to improve batting cage, bullpen still needs more funds
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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There’s going to be a little changeup at Del Oro High School this baseball season. 
Not only will the Golden Eagles have a new head coach, but the team also hopes to have upgraded facilities in time for the first pitch. 
“We’re going to do a little bit of renovating to get caught up to the rest of our league,” said Jeff Dietrich, the first-year manager. “Maybe surpass them.”
Dietrich, who has been a Del Oro football offensive coordinator for a handful of years, expects to have a new batting cage and bullpen in place built from scratch on the first-base side of the school’s varsity baseball field by March. 
The blueprints for the new amenities, which have been kick-started thanks to a few generous donations, also call for lights so ballplayers and youth in Loomis can practice at night. 
Dietrich, who played baseball in high school and was a JV coach at Oakmont, believes the renovations will have an impact on generations of local athletes to come. 
“The affect will be in the future,” he said. “Having a structure and facility in the community people can use, with the partnership with youth baseball, allowing them to use it, will get more kids to play baseball and think about baseball. 
“The big key is the link to the future and the investment in our future so the community has a better facility to use as they grow up.”
The coach also thinks the changes are much needed after visiting other teams’ stadiums in the Sierra Foothill League. 
“You got to other peoples’ parks and you can see there is an emphasis on baseball at their campus,” he said. “Prior to this year, you didn’t notice how awesome our baseball stadium is. We want to make our field look like there’s an actual ballpark here instead of a pasture with a diamond.”
The project — which has already raised more than $23,000 with sponsorships from Von Housen Mercedes, Allegiant and Golden Eagle Youth Baseball — needs a few more donations before it rounds third and heads for home. 
Nets and flooring are still needed, as well as lights. 
Dietrich said planning for the current renovations started several years back based off ideas from a Del Oro dad, Kevin Raymond. Raymond helped put together a plan the school could take to the district, Dietrich said. 
“With the approval of district, we got the plans up and the material and work was donated,” Dietrich said.
Dietrich, who took over at the helm in June, has been thankful for the help he has received thus far.
“The support we got from the community has been awesome,” he said. “This is my first season. The amount we’ve gotten done has been awesome.
“We’re excited to get the season underway. It’s amazing the support we’ve gotten in the community from baseball. Hopefully the facilities will lead to better play on the field.”
The Golden Eagles went 4-22 last season, winning just 2 of 15 SFL games. 
Those interested in donating toward the project can visit https://sites.google.com/a/puhsd.k12.ca.us/del-oro-baseball/home for more information.
Reach Matthew Kimel at matthewk@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel