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NORTH OGDEN — The girls softball team at North Ogden Junior High can no longer practice on their own baseball diamond after administrators said vandals left several burn marks on it over the summer.
The team showed up for practice near the end of summer to find a surprise on their field.
“It looked blatantly obvious that someone did this,” said head coach Lisa Howell. “Kind of shocking that someone would come to a junior high field and damage it.”
Principal Wendy Long said the round divots started showing up in late June and continued to increase in number over the summer. Long said North Ogden police were investigating, but with no surveillance cameras in the area they had little to go on.
Howell said practices recently have been a bit different.
“We’ve been moving to the outfield,” Howell said. “We did a drill the other day where we used second base as our first base and left field for our short stop area.”
“It’s really hard, because sometimes you trip on them, and hitting grounders – they take weird bounces off them,” said 7th grader Eden Jensen.
The team will be able to play their four home games at Weber High School, which they said they appreciate. Still, coaches and players were somewhat disappointed, not knowing why their field was targeted.
Coach Lisa Howell said she was disappointed her players wouldn’t be able to have normal field for practice.
“I don’t think it’s very fair to us,” said 8th grader Hadley Howell. “It was weird and kind of like, ‘what happened?’ It’s crazy.”
Long said it would cost an estimated $25,000 to have the remaining grass pulled out and a gravel field put in. Instead, she said the school would likely reseed, and hold out for next year, continuing to practice in the outfield.
“It’s a little unfair for these girls. It’s not a real softball field,” Coach Howell said. “They need to be able to practice on real bases with their pitching mound where it’s supposed to be. Because we’ve had to switch over, it’s not a game-like situation.”