National Guard builds new field for Hodgdon Little Leaguers

HODGDON, Maine — Young baseball and softball players in Hodgdon will soon have a second field to enjoy. 

Thanks to a collaborative with the 185th Engineer Support Company of the Maine Army National Guard, Hodgdon’s Border League will double the number of home fields for area youth. Groundwork began on the project last week.

“We are thrilled to have the National Guard working and completing this project for our programs and community,” said Border League president Jason Little. “Border League has been around for years and we have grown to include minors and majors softball this year. Having a second field will allow the kids to have more practice time as we are currently sharing 2 fields — one in Linneus and the current field on the McIntyre Road — between 5 baseball teams.”

Located on the South McIntyre Road, the additional field will not only help Little League teams, but will benefit the Hodgdon Recreation Department’s T-Ball and First Pitch program. For the past several years, those groups have included at least two or three squads, who also were vying for practice time.

“Hodgdon Town Manager Jim Griffin and the National Guard have been instrumental in getting this project up and running,” Little said. “We all are looking forward to it’s completion and use.”

The project is part of the engineering unit’s annual training, which is a dedicated two-week period that the Maine Army National Guard conducts each year.

Lt. Cole Richards of the 185th Engineer Support Company said the project would take about a week to complete. The unit, which has facilities in Caribou and Houlton, is known locally as “County Thunder.”

“First we have to build up the ground in order to construct a baseball field,” Richards said. “This is part of our Innovative Readiness Training Program (IRT). This program allows us to get mission-essential training for the guard on tasks that we may be called to do at home or overseas, such as helipads or a base for people to live at. By doing this, we are training for our missions, but at the same time we’re giving back to the community something that will be used for years to come.”

Making the project more special for some in the guard is the fact that three members —  Sgt. Mike Quint and Sgt. Roby Dobkins and Pvt. Devin Ramsey — reside in Hodgdon and have children who may one day use the field.

“Those guys will be able to come watch their kids play and say, ‘I helped build that,’” Richards said.

He added that building a sports field is not uncommon for the guard. In the past, the group constructed a soccer field for Wisdom High School in St. Agatha and also built a pad at Houlton Elementary School that became new basketball courts.

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