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Jul 10, 2023

FALL RIVER — The Durfee baseball team endured a lot of adversity this spring.

The Hilltoppers had just seven practices, 27 bus trips to games and practices this season due to the new construction of their baseball field at the high school.

Now the nightmare is finally over.

The old Joseph "Skip" Lewis baseball field recently received a facelift as the old grassy surface was converted into a state-of-the art turf field with lighting.

Durfee will play its first real home game of the season tonight as they host a Division I preliminary game against Lynn Classical at B.M.C. Durfee High School.

"We were finally able to play a game on our new turf baseball field on Wednesday night — a scrimmage against Apponequet," Hilltoppers athletic director Brad Bustin said. "The season was tough being on the road for every game and not having a full field to practice on. But the team handled it very well. The coaches did a great job of planning practices around what they had to work with."

The project, which took five months to compete, was headed by Leftfield Project Manager Adam Keane, Traverse Landscape Architect Arthur Eddy, R.A.D Sports Turf Peter Pacheco and Durfee's own C.O.O. Ken Pacheco.

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"We met every Wednesday on the field for the last five months," Bustin said.

Bustin said he was thankful for schools like Joseph Case and Taunton High for letting Durfee use their fields for some home games against other schools.

According to Sports Venue Calculator, an artificial turf baseball field costs somewhere between $420,000 —$1,140,000 depending on the size of the field and quality of the synthetic turf.

"To finally be able to get on the field made it all worth the wait," Bustin said. "To quote Field of Dreams, we said "is this heaven." When the lights came on at 7:30 and the field was perfectly lit by 8:30, it was awesome. The new turf plays a little slow but will get faster with more play on it. To see our players reaction to being on the field was priceless."

For head coach Micahel Martin, it was worth the wait.

"The field is beautiful, especially under the lights," Martin said. "I am so happy for the seniors who have endured a boat load of adversity this spring."

Martin's group started the season 4-9 but won five of its last seven games to punch their ticket to the postseason.

"[It was] looking like we had no chance to make the tournament," Martin said. "And here we stand 9-11 and ready to host our first real game Saturday afternoon in the state tournament. I am so proud of the boys and how they stuck together through it all."

Durfee received a bonus when they were awarded a home MIAA playoff game against Lynn Classical.

Bustin said the field has no dugouts, scoreboard or press box at the moment. He said everything is due by the end of June. There are stands for fans behind home plate.

The field will be rededicated at the start of next season when the field is completely done.

Herald News and Taunton Daily Gazette sports editor Steven Sanchez can be reached at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter @Chezsports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.

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