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foreplease
08-10-2008, 06:54 PM
The baseball field our local high school uses is being renovated. I am doing some of the work. This week we roughed in the new pitcherís mound and batterís boxes. It was difficult to find widespread agreement on the procedures and methods. Although this was my first mound built from scratch, I have maintained and repaired others. In the end, how it was done is based on what I have seen on other fields, what I have read or been told, the existing conditions and parameters of the job, and the materials available in our area.

The mound as we found it:
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For context. Cleaned up old mound in context of tilled infield.
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After shooting all the elevations, we roughed in and shaped the area where the clay bricks would go
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Naturally, the rough in area will hold water until bricks are in and finish grade established
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continued next post...

foreplease
08-10-2008, 06:57 PM
Just to be safe, I put in a smile drain at the front and back edges of mound
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The school had about 3 dozen old bricks, we put those on the bottom layer
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I made this mound gauge that made the job easier and, probably, better The landing area is two bricks deep
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Building and following the slope one brick deep
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All of the heavy use area in front of the rubber is three bricks deep
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continued...

foreplease
08-10-2008, 07:00 PM
Hereís a shot from the front showing the slope and table area behind the rubber
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Need to backfill, water, and cover until we get the grass grown in. I wanted to get the heaviest work done before we plant the grass.
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This is one I edged last fall after removing the worn and compacted areas in the grass in front of the mound and repairing. It was brought up to grade (final inch) in the spring.

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One side of the box is finished. We were only able to go two bricks deep on the back edge.
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orange79
08-10-2008, 08:43 PM
Looks good and like it should hold up well

AJ Lawnscapes
08-10-2008, 09:46 PM
Hmmm... learn something new everyday. I didn't know that the mounds were built with bricks, thought it was just a bunch of compacted sand.

Looks good, thanks for learning me good today!

foreplease
08-10-2008, 11:18 PM
I am still learning myself. Yes, unfired clay bricks are what I used - 435 so far and I need about 90 more to finish the other batter's box. In all of the reading I did and the little bit of repair work I have done with mound clay, this seemed like the best way to go. Based on how many times some of them had to be reset to get everything right, I now know working with bagged clay would have been tougher.

Thanks for your comments.

jmoore16135
08-10-2008, 11:54 PM
Great job! If that infield has an automated irrigation system, you might want to consider getting a tarp for the mound so it doesn't end up washing out.

foreplease
08-11-2008, 12:11 AM
Great job! If that infield has an automated irrigation system, you might want to consider getting a tarp for the mound so it doesn't end up washing out.

Thank you. I am happy with it as a first try. Irrigation was put in last week but will probably not be live for one more week. We are looking at tarp options now and definitely plan to cover the mound and plate. My take on tarps is that they help keep mositure in as well as out. Both are important, but I have some things to learn about the specifics.

jmoore16135
08-11-2008, 12:25 AM
Very true with the tarps, keeping those mound bricks somewhat moist is very important. If those bricks dry out completly they will end up cracking and become loose resulting in a safety issue.

Baseballer1100
08-11-2008, 02:11 AM
When we built the mound at my school used clay and tamps. I felt like dying. the guide is also a good little tool I need to get a picture of ours. It is like that only it has little 1x1s that gradually get smaller hard to explain with out a picture.

Guzman Properties
08-11-2008, 02:57 AM
Thanks for the great pics, never knew how those were built!!

STIHL GUY
08-18-2008, 12:48 AM
i never knew bricks were used for that. thats pretty cool

socallawndude
08-18-2008, 05:25 PM
Looks good, I too didn't know mounds were constructed of bricks.

foreplease
08-18-2008, 08:23 PM
Thanks for all the comments.

I should probably make clear that these are unfired bricks. With enough time, moisture, and pressure, the brick parts of the mound should become one big mass of clay. I could have used many bags of mound clay in place of the bricks but am glad now that I did it the way I did. Once things firm up, I will sweep or wash any loose dirt off the bricks and pack bagged mound clay into whatever crevices are left. Then cover lightly with out infield material.

Since the pictures were taken, we have backfilled the area, got it damp, and covered it. Once I get the infield grass up, I will dress up the mound.

foreplease
10-10-2008, 11:06 PM
Here is an updated photo of the mound taken near the end of the day today. The grass is not fully grown in but is strong enough to get base paths, infield radius, and the mound trimmed out. Those cuts have all been made and undercut. Waste will be removed next week and edges backed up with new infield mix.

My original post showed a mound from another field I repaired last fall as an example of where I hoped this one was headed. We're almost there. Grade is within about 1/4" of finish now. Need to get some weather on this, and then top off with our infield mix cut with Turface (MVP).

Next up: home pate area. Tarps are coming soon.

Tscape
10-11-2008, 09:17 AM
I worked on the field at Comerica Park for 2 seasons. That looks as good as our mound there. Tarps are absolutely necessary for the reason you mentioned, moisture control. Tarps and Turface are your best tools to control moisture, Are your base paths turf or part of the skinned infield?

And I'll say it again for clarity: those are not just bricks. They are bricks of mound clay!

foreplease
10-11-2008, 09:22 AM
I worked on the field at Comerica Park for 2 seasons. That looks as good as our mound there. Tarps are absolutely necessary for the reason you mentioned, moisture control. Tarps and Turface are your best tools to control moisture, Are your base paths turf or part of the skinned infield?

And I'll say it again for clarity: those are not just bricks. They are bricks of mound clay!

Thank you very much! Base paths are part of the skinned infield.

Tscape
10-12-2008, 05:31 PM
There is the next big step then; to actually control moisture on the infield skin. Not many high schools (I've never seen one) have the resources to pull an entire infield tarp at the drop of a hat. Lots of colleges struggle even with a team that practices every day. Then again your normal high school field probably has a lower clay content anyway, so that will help.

Are many schools continuing the practice of having the first and third base paths a turf area? I know EMU did it about 5 years back. I always wondered how that would hold up and what type of maintenance it would require.

foreplease
10-13-2008, 10:04 PM
Are many schools continuing the practice of having the first and third base paths a turf area? I know EMU did it about 5 years back. I always wondered how that would hold up and what type of maintenance it would require.

It seems to be kind of a trendy thing in Michigan. I have been asked to put in grass base paths on two fields and told them I was not interested. To do it right would be much more involved than most places realize. Maintaining them once they were in is not something most places below the college level could handle, IMO. Add in that very few baseball fields here are game-only fields and it is easy to imagine practices wrecking grass base paths. Once they are partially worn out and compacted, it seems to me they would be dangerous and difficult to repair in season. I do not see any upside at all, but that's only my opinion.

Another place that has grass base paths (that I did not put in) recently asked me about caring for them. They seem to realize it is only a matter of time before they will be removing what is left of the grass and going back to skinned base paths.

Correct installation over a high sand content soil, selecting an aggressive growing bluegrass (in our area), aerating 3-4 times a month, lots of overseeding and hand watering, wetting agents, and at least weekly topdressing is what I think it would take to keep grass base paths in good shape. Having an emergency repair nursery would be helpful. That and a This Field is for Scheduled Games Only sign.

Jerry Lee
11-29-2008, 11:20 AM
hey thats pretty cool i didnt know u built the mound and batters boxes with bricks, but it makes sense. well my high school is defantly out of the norm, for our baseball team has one of the best fields in state. and ive heard we use volcanic dirt for the base paths, im wondering if that is true or if u would know of anyting like that.?

Big C
11-29-2008, 05:10 PM
Awsome job.... after playing 8 years of organized baseball I had no idea they put bricks under the mound and batter's box....who wudda thunk it!:confused:

Tscape
01-04-2009, 12:33 AM
You guys understand that these are bricks of mound clay, not fired bricks like used in construction.

The warning track at Comerica Park is crushed granite. We had a groundskeeper visit from the Northern League, a team in Minnesota, and her infield skin is the same material. Volcanic rock seems like that.

ICT Bill
02-03-2009, 12:38 AM
Awsome job.... after playing 8 years of organized baseball I had no idea they put bricks under the mound and batter's box....who wudda thunk it!:confused:

You didn't think it because this is probably the one and only time bricks were used to construct the mound

He keeps trying to make the point that the bricks are not fired, they will eventually, hopefully, return to their clay state

Use diamond clay for mounds please, those bricks will beat your childs shins and knees to death before they get through a season

Dumb idea, "hey dad let go practice for hours and hours on concrete" not smart

foreplease
02-03-2009, 09:22 AM
I have read many of your posts and enjoyed them. I think you are bright and fair-minded. We disagree on this, however, and I beleive you have missed the mark on this topic. This is how most mounds are built at the higher levels of play.

You didn't think it because this is probably the one and only time bricks were used to construct the mound

He keeps trying to make the point that the bricks are not fired, they will eventually, hopefully, return to their clay state

Use diamond clay for mounds please, those bricks will beat your childs shins and knees to death before they get through a season

Dumb idea, "hey dad let go practice for hours and hours on concrete" not smart

jmoore16135
02-03-2009, 08:36 PM
Totally agree with 'foreplease', a well built mound is usually built with clay bricks. Like 'Tscape' mentioned, mound bricks are made of clay. A properly maintained mound made with bricks will be just the same as a mound made of bagged clay. The biggest problems with pitching mounds is the maintenance of the mound. Bagged clay hardens up just like a clay brick would if it isn't kept moist enough.

Birdand2
05-10-2011, 05:09 PM
Nice, I like the pictures. Good work

Creative Cuts
02-22-2013, 04:00 PM
Looks good, work at local college and always use bricks on mounds and batters box, only thing i do different is stagger the seams and always tarp and hand water
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LangerDU
04-24-2013, 10:54 AM
If you're renovating an existing mound, typically one layer of Mound Blocks is sufficient to provide a firm foundation for pitchers and batters (and saves having to excavate as deep!) Most Blocks are 2.5" thick so that's a pretty good base that will hold up to wear. It's beneficial to water and tamp the Blocks when they are being installed to help mold the surface into a solid sheet of clay. Blocks left in place as individual pieces are more likely to shift and form holes as infield mix settles in between them.

craigs lawncare
05-19-2013, 10:43 AM
Hey, lover this thread.
Your pitchers mound looks fantastic...!
I have actually been considering building a practice mound for my son who is a freshman to practice pitching in the summer.
Let me give you a little background. I live in Michigan. My ground is clay. I will be building the mound on the north side of my house rather close to my home, so the house will offer some shade from the direct sun at least part of the day. I plan on buying a tarp to cover it. most of the time.
Where can I find the materials? (bricks & dirt to cover the mound)

Craig

LangerDU
05-20-2013, 10:41 AM
Craig - it depends on where in Michigan you are located as far as a nearby distributor of Mound Blocks and Mound Clay. I work for Turface and do not mean to use this site for commercial purposes, but since you asked for a place to buy products, I'd suggest checking out turface.com and using the distributor locator to see who might be close to you in Michigan. Hope that helps!

foreplease
06-10-2013, 11:47 PM
Craigs lawncare:

Sorry I did not see this sooner. The mound bricks I use come in 8-packs wrapped in heavy plastic. I get them on pallets from a distributor in northern Michigan called Tri-Turf. John Deere Landscapes, formerly LESCO, sometimes have them you can buy one at a time. They have several stores in MI. Some of the big sports equipment places on line offer them but you sure don't want to pay freight on these. Each package is around 65#.

If it's not too late and you want to drive to St. Joseph I can provide them, if you are interested.

After the pictures above were taken, I softened a few bricks in water in a 5-gallon pail, drained the water, mixed them up to a thick paste using a 1/2" drill motor and a drywall mud paddle. Then I troweled it over the bricks, forcing it into all the joints. The result was like a skim coat of plaster. My intent was to keep the infield dirt and Turface mix from finding its way into the cracks. I was trying to give the bricks time to fuse together before infield dirt settled in between them. It seems to have worked well on this and other mounds (and batters boxes).

gcbailey
09-05-2013, 08:38 PM
Wow... I just read through this after your comment on the little league field. This is awesome! I never realized what went into a pitchers mount. I just always assumed "dirt upon dirt"... It looks awesome.

foreplease
09-05-2013, 08:49 PM
Thanks gc.