Wilton Little League raising funds to create ‘first-class baseball facility’ in town

WILTON — Recent storm damage at Bill Terry Field has prompted local Little League officials to pick up the ball and try to improve their sandlot.

Wilton Little League is raising funds to replace a damaged backstop and make other aesthetic improvements at two of its fields. The backstop at Terry Field was crushed by a large tree branch that came down during a storm last summer.

“We’re really trying to get word out and ... raise some money so we can get this field upgraded,” said board secretary Martin Avallone.

The field is one of two housed at the Wilton Family YMCA on Danbury Road. Terry Field serves as home base for older children in the league’s “Majors” division, while Clem Young Field is used by younger players. More than 200 children ages 5 to 12 compete.

Although the fields are located on YMCA property, Wilton Little League is responsible for their upkeep.

Officials hope to raise $100,000 to replace the backstop at Terry Field, install safer fencing around both fields, get better seating for fans, purchase a new scoreboard and upgrade the dugouts. The backstop alone costs $35,000, Avallone said.

“We have (already) raised almost $20,000 from family donations, which is a huge step toward our goal of approximately $50,000,” board vice president Chris Kelly said. “We are hoping that businesses in the community are willing to contribute to the momentum we have generated towards bringing a first-class baseball facility to Wilton.”

Although Wilton’s sluggers have had significant runs and wins in recent years, the league has been unable to host district matches at Terry Field because it is currently unfit to do so. The backstop was originally built with an overhang that kept balls from getting lost on foul pop-ups.

“Because of this, the field does not qualify as regulation and we are unable to host meaningful games,” explained board President Dave Drew. “Making the change would greatly benefit the kids.”

The league is accepting donations through Jan. 30, which would give it enough time to complete the work before the season starts in April.

“Hosting a state tournament would create tremendous buzz for youth baseball in the Wilton community,” Kelly added.

For more information visit www.wiltonlittleleague.org.