Eastlake Little League receives major donation

Posted at 7:34 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-20 12:52:51-05

The Eastlake Little League's Challenger Division will receive a major donation that will let its special needs players literally walk where hundreds of San Diego Padres players have played.

"This is a great story," said Eastlake Challenger Division rep Christian Slike.

The Little League in eastern Chula Vista has been working on a dedicated field solely for "differently-abled" players.

"Not just any field," said Slike. "We call it the 'Field of Dreams.'"

Volunteers started construction on the field just off Olympic Parkway last month. A wall has been built, home plate is in and the field has been graded. They still have a long way to go for their March 12 opening day.

"It's the process in which we get there and it's seeing the community come together," said Slike.

They've received a couple of large donations since appearing on 10News last month. Then, they got word this week about Turf Equipment Source.

The Phoenix-based company is at Petco Park, replacing all of the clay and sand on the Padres' field.

"[It] takes about five to seven days on a turnaround," said Turf Equipment Source co-owner Barry Nelson.

Part of that turnaround includes taking the old major league clay away.

Then, Nelson came up with an idea.

"The Padres' infield clay is going to get donated to the Challenger field for the Little League kids to play on," said Nelson.

Turf Equipment Source is giving the Challenger Division more than 200 tons of clay and sand that every Padre since 2004 has played on since the park opened.

"The fact that they're coming out doing that for us, first of all it's going to save us a tremendous amount of money," said Slike.

Nelson said, "An infield like this could cost $40,000 to $50,000."

"[It's] an already special place that's going to be more special because of its connection to Petco Park and the Padres," added Slike.

Eastlake Little League is hosting an opening day ceremony on the field March 12.

The league is still using a GoFundMe page to raise the remaining funds to build facilities like a snack bar and restrooms.