When Babylon High School’s varsity baseball team made the trip to Mattituck this spring, one fan in the crowd couldn’t help notice the field conditions.
Charles Reichert, who owns the Southold and Greenport IGA, was watching his grandson play for Babylon when he took particular notice of the backstop.
“When I see games in Mattituck the balls are flying all over the place because they don’t have a backstop,” Mr. Reichert said in an interview Thursday. “It’s really old and I thought it should be replaced.”
So, he approached baseball coach Steve DeCaro and athletic director Gregg Wormuth with an offer they couldn’t refuse — a nearly $25,000 donation to replace the backstop and dugout fencing on the field.
“The old backstop was too low and rusted, it was time for a new one,” Mr. DeCaro said. “We’d been putting it off and somebody actually stepped up and volunteered to pay for it which was incredibly nice.”
The Board of Education can officially approve the donation at tonight’s meeting and then work can begin.
Mr. Wormouth said he expects the company installing the new equipment, Residential Fencing Company, to have it completed prior to the start of the school year.
Mr. Reichert said the new fence — funded through a donation from his family foundation, The Charles and Helen Reichert Family Foundation, which he established about four years ago — will be higher than the previous one to prevent foul balls from flying into the woods.
The foundation has also handed out numerous scholarships and donated to many other organizations and parks over the years, he said.
“It’s helping the kids and it’s helping the school district,” he said of the most recent donation. “Everything we’ve done out here is to try to help the people of Southold Town. They’ve been very good to us.”
Although his grandson graduated from Babylon High School this June, leaving no family members left playing high school baseball, Mr. Reichert said he plans to attend Tuckers games in the future to support the team and see the new backstop in use.
“Anytime something like this comes along you’re grateful for it,” Mr. Wormuth said. “The kids are what you have in mind and they reap the benefits of a community that has been so supportive.”
In 2015, the baseball team won the Class B New York State championship. The Tuckers won a third straight league title this past spring before eventually falling in the county playoffs. Mattituck edged Babylon for the league title by one game, but the Panthers prevailed 3-1 over the Tuckers in a playoff game.
Photo caption: A view of the backstop at the Mattituck baseball field. (Credit: Nicole Smith)