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Raiders broke in new infield Friday night

It wasn't the prize Hastings resident Steve Foote was hoping to win, but it was a prize that the Hastings Parks and Recreation Department was thrilled to have dropped on its doorstep.

The prize Foote won was a $20,000 baseball field improvement project for his city from Chevrolet's "Diamonds and Dreams" program. At first, Director of Parks and Recreation Barry Bernstein was skeptical, but with some research he realized the prize was legitimate. He talked with Foote and they decided to put the prize money toward the baseball field at Veteran's Athletic Complex.

The infield had been built in 1982, with no upgrades until last fall, when crews got to work stripping it down. It got new aggregate, new black dirt, new sod, new pitcher's rubber and an improved batter's box.

Last Friday, the Hastings Raiders varsity baseball team broke in the new field in a game against Park of Cottage Grove. Prior to the game, Bernstein, Foote and two representatives from Valley Chevrolet in Hastings presented the new infield to the teams and the crowd. There's still a variation in the grass color between the new sod and old sod, so it's easy to see where the work was done.

Foote and Tony Nelson, one of Hastings' city council members, threw two ceremonial first pitches to finish the presentation and get the game under way.

Valley Chevrolet representatives said they were proud to be a part of the Hastings community and to support projects like the field renovation.

"We're so delighted to be here and hope to be here a long, long time," said Tom Ward.