A field of their dreams
If you build it, they will come.
While summer vacation normally represents a time for high school students to relax and have fun, two Austin High School students spent their summer doing something a little different.
They built a ball park — a wiffleball park to be exact.
Tom Aase and Gabe Kasak, who are both juniors at AHS, spent the better part of their summer planning and building their own field near the Austin Baptist Chapel about a half-mile past the Mower County Fairgrounds.
The inspiration to build a field came from the simple desire to find a place to play wiffleball.
“Every year we get bigger and our field gets smaller by our houses,” said Kasak, who grew up playing wiffleball with his older brother. “We just wanted to find a place to fit and we got it now.”
The field has been built with a backstop, foul poles, lights and even distance markers at the fences.
It took about a month of planning and a month of building.
“We wanted it to be right the first time and not have it end up looking like junk,” Aase, who also played AAU basketball this past summer, said.
The original plan was to make the field look like Target Field or the Polo Grounds, but that proved to be difficult so parts of each park were incorporated in the design. Austin Baptist Chapel paid for most of the costs, and Aase’s dad and grandpa provided a lot of help, along with Tommy Olmsted, another junior at AHS.
“We saw re-creations of parks like Fenway on youtube and thought it would be awesome to have something like that in Austin,” Kasak said. “Once the church helped out, it was on and I thank our parents for putting up with us being out here every day for the last month.”
While building a wiffleball field doesn’t seem like the most natural pastime — it wasn’t too hard for Aase and Kasak to get going on the project. They’re also glad that the field can be used for generations to come.
“We always kind of struggle to find stuff to do other than XBox or making up random games,” Aase said. “I’ve seen little kids out here playing kick ball and that’s cool. Whoever wants to use it definitely can.”
The field opened strong as 50 people showed up for an end of the summer get together, which featured a wiffleball tournament that went from 7 p.m. to midnight.
Since they started playing, Kasak and Aase have realized that five is the perfect amount of players to have on each team. Kasak, who played Legion baseball this past summer, said he also gets a little help with his swing.
“You can play lob ball or fast speed pitching and when they throw fast, you get a giant curve which helps me a little for baseball because you have to watch the ball go in,” Kasak said.
The local duo hopes to start a wiffleball league next summer which will run one or two days a week.
Kasak and have created a facebook page for the field called Austin wiffleball for anyone interested.