When Verona baseball coach Brad D’Orazio first heard how close the outfield fence in the new high school’s baseball fields was to home plate, he was concerned.
He thought home games might become a home run derby.
However, worries some people have had that the size of the field could affect the team’s ability to host games are unfounded, Verona Area High School athletic director Joel Zimba told the Verona Press.
The fence as designed meets guidelines recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations – at least 300 feet from home plate to the fence in left and right field and 350 feet to center field.
The two baseball fields at the new high school – being built as part of a $182 million referendum in 2017 – meet those recommendations. Zimba said the fence in left and right field will be more than 320 feet from home plate and center field will be 350 feet from home.
“We have been at those numbers since Day 1,” he said.
In addition, under NFHS recommended policy, high school baseball coaches can agree to play a game on a field that does not meet those guidelines.
Zimba said he and VAHS baseball coaches had internal discussions about the fields’ dimensions.
“We saw what we can improve on and what we had to make it better for our student-athletes and the community,” he said. “We wanted to improve on that (recommended NFHS outfield dimensions) so it was better competitively and for the community.”
D’Orazio said the baseball program still will likely need to use Stampfl Field because they have three teams – freshmen, junior varsity and varsity.
He said the smallest field the Wildcats have played on is Madison’s Warner Park, where the fence in right field is 290 feet, ⅔ inch from home plate.
Zimba said it has not yet been decided which of the three levels will play on the new high school fields in spring 2021.
“I honestly have no idea what we are going to do moving forward,” D’Orazio said. “There will be a lot of talks about it.”