SALEM, SD — The new McCook Central/Montrose football stadium will have to wait a little longer for some of its new facilities after Mother Nature dealt a blow to renovations.
On May 12, the first of two derecho storms destroyed the brand new press gallery. Then, on July 5, the second storm brought a new lamp post to the ground, landing on the newly rehabilitated runway.
But the football season gets serious in August. There’s still time for baseball, and while the football field suffered the most damage among Salem’s playing fields, the city ballpark dodged most of the wreckage. In fact, “it’s pretty miraculous he didn’t do more damage,” McCook Central School athletic director Doug Durfee said. Durfee also helps run the state’s VFW baseball tournament.
Salem is scheduled to host the 10-and-under Class B state baseball tournament Friday through Sunday, and the baseball diamonds suffered minor damage. There was a cleaning duty on the diamond, however. The football field press box was badly damaged and blew into the baseball field.
“We’ve got quite a bit of damage there,” Durfee said.
Durfee mentioned that debris from a local roof was blown onto the pitch, but he hopes the damage will not disrupt the football season given that matches start in about a month.
A possible change to the season could begin earlier in the day due to potential lighting issues. There is still some debris to clean up and a lamp post to put down, but the goal is to have a playing surface ready to go for the season. This means regular home game kick-offs can be moved earlier.
“We hope that…we can get [the light] ahead of our first home game,” Durfee said. “It’s too early to say at the moment, but if everything goes according to plan, we should be able to accommodate everything for football.”
Those same storms have already left their mark on local sports, forcing the 8U State Baseball Championships to relocate to Bryant due to damage on Center Field, which is about seven miles north of Salem.
However, the Salem and Montrose grounds are good for playing the upcoming 10U tournament, but not without their minor flaws from major storms.
Durfee said there was a 15- to 20-foot piece removed from the press box’s outfield fence falling on the Salem baseball field, but the playing surface itself was not injured. .
On top of that, there are bends and bumps in the fences, and the batting cages are completely lowered and mangled, but the overall damage to the diamond is fairly minor, he said.
Fields are important for getting back into shape in due time, but after winds from the May storm topped 58 mph and gusts hit 80 mph in July, restoring the community itself is leading the charge. listing for many in the Salem area.
“We will not have a press box [this season] because we have so many homes and garages and things destroyed,” Durfee said. “The priority in town is to get everyone’s houses and everything in order.”