SVI Softball Fields
This is the field the City of Victoria is providing for the girls softball at Pemberton Park. The strangely skinned cutouts around second base and the oversize cutouts around first and third were done to accommodate different lengths of base-paths for different age groups. It is certainly not a regulation field like the City provides for the baseball programs, and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a similar infield design anywhere in the country. However the field is considered acceptable by the City of Victoria for the girls to use for their sport.
The images below show 12 of the 14 South Vancouver Island Fastball (SVI) fields that girls play on. Beacon Hill is the only Association that does not have a regulation field.
Click the image for full size view.
Why does it matter if the infield is grass or dirt?
Arguably the most important reason is that a grass infield is not a regulation infield for softball. As a result, our girls have lost numerous opportunities and experiences that they will not have until the City decides to start treating them fairly.
Pemberton Park field is not a regulation field which means our girls and Association are not able to host any playoff or tournament games. The girls are required to travel to other fields for any games of that sort if they are invited as a Visting team.
According to “The Rally Report” Canadian Women & Sport, The Rally Report, (2020) the reasons girls drop out of a sport in greater numbers as they get older include several factors that can be affected by the quality of the softball experience. Among these are confidence and skill in the sport. Both are severely impacted by the fact that the girls develop their skills (and resulting confidence) on grass during games and practices at Pemberton, and experience playing on a regulation field only when they travel to games.
There is a disadvantage to our girls as some are not used to the way the ball behaves on a skinned infield which can and does affect their ability to predict the play. Balls travel very differently on the two surfaces and a skinned infield is used throughout the world for softball because it has been found to be the best and safest for the sport.
The multiple grass lips placed in a haphazard fashion due to the base cutouts not only interferes with the game but also creates a safety hazard for the girls. Ball hops that occur off the lips are commonly directed unpredictably upward towards the head of player attempting to field the ball. Also, the unusual skinning around the bases create opportunities for sprains as players are sliding towards a grass lip. The City of Victoria has been told of the safety issue by email on more than one occasion.