Gophers Infest High School's Baseball Fields

Tabatha Wethal Headshot

A rodent problem at John F. Kennedy High School in Sacramento, Calif., is causing alarm ahead of the spring 2022 baseball season.

The baseball fields at the school are almost unusable, according to a KCRA-TV report. Coaches and parents are worried the student-athletes are going to get injured if they continue using the fields during off-season practice.

Thousands of gophers have left mounds of dirt, holes and collapsed trenches across the entire field of play, the team told KCRA-TV.

Baseball coach Jay Landreth called the field "unplayable" and "dangerous."

Players' parents said they did what they could to maintain the infield and have spent time and thousands of dollars out of their own pockets to even the field and combat the pests. But the damage done by the gophers in the outfield makes it impossible to keep up with the problem.

"My fear is: Some of my top players are outfielders," Landreth told KCRA-TV. "If they get to full speed, and their foot slips in one of these thousands of sinkholes, I'm gonna have a broken ankle, a broken leg, torn ACL ... and their career could be over before it starts."

In a statement, the Sacramento City Unified School District said it’s aware of the gopher infestation affecting the baseball fields.

“Our district also concurs with the concerns from the community that the fields in their current condition do not meet minimum standards for a high school baseball or softball field,” the statement said. “The district will address these concerns beginning with a robust and ongoing pest management program to address the gophers before filling the holes with native soil. It is also our plan to infill and level out these fields prior to the spring sports season beginning in February 2022.”

The district said its goal is to rebuild new baseball and softball fields, bleachers and fencing around both fields, though it didn’t include any details on a plan.

“We will keep our community updated on all of this work and progress,” the statement said.

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