ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. – Just days before spring baseball and softball practice starts, the sports fields at Happy Valley High School were flooded for the second year in a row.
As a result, teams are now looking to find an alternate place to practice and play.
Carter County Director of Schools Dr. Kevin Ward said practice for baseball and softball was supposed to begin Monday.
“I know right now there is a lot of disappointed people, I know our kids are disappointed, I know the parents of those kids are disappointed,” said Dr. Ward, “we’re all frustrated.”
The fields sit next to Buffalo Creek, which spilled over during the large amount of rainfall on Thursday.
Following February 2019’s historic amount of rainfall, the fields sustained heavy damage which required an initial cost of $70,000 dollars to repair.
“Everything was looking like it was going to be coming along and usable for this spring,” said Happy Valley Principal Doug Mitchell, “but after yesterday’s flood, there is no guarantee that that will take place.”
On Friday, most of the water has receded, but the ground is still very saturated. However, Mitchell said there’s still hope for middle and high school softball.
“I really believe that when things dry out, the girls softball field is going to be the quickest and most available to use,” he said, “the baseball field will be a different story.”
Discussions with the school board are underway to determine a long-term solution for the field.
“Last year, after the first event, we did have discussions about maybe trying to create a larger wall of dirt,” said Dr. Ward. “What we have to be very careful with when it comes to doing something like that is diverting water and pushing it over on somebody else.”
“It is going to be a total cooperative project, not only between the county, the school system, but those property owners that are within that half-mile stretch of where the school sits,” said Mitchell.
Dr. Ward said that baseball has received permission from Milligan College to play a few games there this upcoming season.
The teams are still looking for an indoor facility to practice in.