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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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 pitcher’s mound and batter’s 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:
Plant Land lot Grass Groundcover Shrub

Grass Agriculture Groundcover Plant Grassland


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...

Plant Land lot Grass Groundcover Shrub


Grass Agriculture Groundcover Plant Grassland


Sky Tree Asphalt Land lot Grass


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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
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
Building material Wood Composite material Slope Concrete


continued...

Wood Tints and shades Garden tool Metal Soil


Leg Grass Wood Road surface Thigh


Building material Composite material Gas Concrete Soil


Tradesman Wood Flooring Floor Composite material


Building material Wood Composite material Slope Concrete
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here’s 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.
Slope Road surface Wood Composite material Rectangle


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.

Plant Vertebrate Land lot Road surface Grass


One side of the box is finished. We were only able to go two bricks deep on the back edge.
Wood Slope Road surface Composite material Flooring


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Wood Slope Road surface Composite material Flooring
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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.

Land lot Grass Grassland Plain Landscape
 

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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!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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.
 

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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.?
 
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