Stepping up to the plate

Warriors Softball/Baseball Association seeks upgrades to Fredonia facilities

SCOUT JOSH SMITH (right) oversaw construction of an equipment shed, his Eagle Scout project, on a snowy morning in Waubedonia Park. The work was being done next to a baseball field being built by Billy Mills (left, with beard) and other Fredonia baseball and softball volunteers. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

There may be snow on the ground, but Billy Mills’ mind is rounding third and headed for home.

Mills and several others were recently installing bases on a new baseball/softball field at Waubedonia County Park that will be ready once spring arrives. They’re also planning to make improvements to fields at Fireman’s Park and Oak Park in Fredonia.

For that, however, money is needed.

The Fredonia Lions Club and Ozaukee County are helping fund development of the field at Waubedonia Park.

And Scout Josh Smith has helped build an equipment shed for the diamond as his Eagle Scout project.

“We’re short a scoreboard. We still need some money for that,” he said.

The field will be good for third- through eighth-grade players with base paths 60 to 75 feet long, he said.

There won’t be an outfield fence but instead a temporary fence costing about $2,000 may be used, he said.

With about 120 kids involved last year, a number that Mills hopes to see grow to 150 next summer, the need for facilities is greater than ever, he said.

The Ozaukee Warriors Softball/Baseball Association doesn’t own any fields.

Waubedonia Park is owned by the county; Oak Park’s use has been donated by Milwaukee NC Machining Co. for the past 30 years. Fireman’s Park is owned by the Village of Fredonia.

The league last year installed 1,000 feet of drain tile at Oak Park to improve drainage.

“If it rained, it would take days to drain,” Mills said.

The organization also hopes to repair the fence at Oak Park and install a new scoreboard.

The group also has spent $3,000 to install backstop netting at Fireman’s Park.

The netting will only last three or four years, Mills said. They are hoping the village will help fund a permanent backstop, which costs about $12,000, but so far the village hasn’t agreed to spend the money.

The village makes a cash donation to the league of $1,000 a year. It also helps maintain Oak Park and Fireman’s Park by mowing grass and providing dirt for the diamonds.

Otherwise, the league is dependent on concessions, registration fees and donations.

Business sponsors include Grunau Co. and Heider & Bott Co., Mills said.

During the recent village budget discussions, Mills was shut out in his effort to get additional money for Fireman’s Park.

“On the capital projects end, we have not put much into baseball,” Public Works Director Roger Strohm said. “Basically all those fields were established and last year Billy wanted to upgrade them all.

“We’re looking at our parks reserve fund and in the next couple years see if we can squeeze some money out for Billy.”

Even improved, Fireman’s Park will only be suitable for T-ball and coach-pitch leagues.

There are few practice fields in Fredonia, which makes it more difficult since the playing fields are regularly used for games.

“I’ve been practicing baseball the last five years in people’s yards,” Mills said.

That lack of facilities means some families are leaving Fredonia to play baseball or softball in other communities, especially for older children who require larger diamonds.

There were only two boys who came out to play on Fredonia’s eighth-grade Pony League team last year, for instance, with others going to Saukville to play, Mills said.

Helping kids find adequate facilities to play is a passion for Mills, who also is involved in the local Scouting program.

“Kids gotta have something to do beside get hooked on drugs. I’m just trying to help kids have a good experience and help kids do the right thing,” Mills said.

Mills said his hope is to improve all the fields to the point where the league could host tournaments, which would help them raise money for further improvements.

“That’s how you make money,” he said.

Mills said he’d like to see the league buy land to build a sports complex, but there are few suitable parcels in the area.



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login