Amateur Softball Association head groundskeeper Tracy Schenweis, 36, has been on the job only since April 1. So Hall of Fame Stadium's marquee event, the Women's College World Series, gave Schenweis a quick baptism.
Q: How tough has it been to get the field ready this tournament considering the weather?
A: “It's definitely been a challenge. Luckily for me, most of the crew has been through this, they're local guys. Most of them, this is their third or fourth year working the event. It was kind of them showing me what we were going to do and how this thing works. They were trained properly before I got here. The older guys that have been through it all have helped the new guys. It's really worked out.”
Over the years, the Hall of Fame Stadium infield has been criticized by World Series coaches. But Washington coach Heather Tarr, who played third base on this field in the '90s, said she was very pleased with the dirt. Did you do anything differently?
“The infield material's still the same. I may maintain it a little bit different than previous groundskeepers. That's the first I've heard that she said those nice things, which is a very big compliment. That's another challenge with this tournament. I want the field to play the same for every game. No. 1 priority with the field is safety. No. 2, I look for consistency. I want it the same on Wednesday when they work out, to Thursday the 11 o'clock game and the 8:30 game. I want it playing the same, which is definitely a challenge when they give you 15 minutes between games. Luckily for me the weather's been very cooperative, once we've gotten the games started. Hasn't been 100 degrees with 30 mph wind drying everything out, temperatures have been nice as far as maintaining dirt. We spend a lot of time on the dirt. I was joking with the guys, how much time of my life I've spent just watering dirt. Not trying to grow anything. I'm just literally watering dirt. That helps everything as far as playability and safety and the ball getting a true bounce.”
Why did you want to work for ASA?
“I was in minor league baseball (Salem, Va.) and I just kind of needed a change. It was closer to home than where I was. But the main thing is this organization has such a great reputation. This event's obviously one of the highlights. Not the reason I came here, but it was definitely attractive. This place is looking to get better and improve. That's where I want to work, somewhere that was actually trying to improve and get better. I thought I could help this place get better with the playing fields and everything I'm involved with.”