SPICER -- Damage to the ball fields at Spicer could easily top $100,000, according one estimate on Wednesday.
A tornado bounced through the Green Lake Diamonds late Tuesday afternoon before hitting the mall across the state highway and then continuing east along the heavily-populated lakeshore.
Major damage to the baseball field occurred in center field where the new batter's eye was splintered, bent and broken.
Four of the six telephone poles supporting the metal backdrop were snapped at the base. A piece of two-inch pipe protrudes from the field side of the backstop. The pipe apparently was part of a boat dock used for a starting platform by the BMX track immediately to the west of the ballfield. The main part of the dock structure was found in the outfield, which has several large divots.
Center field fencing was bent and tilted where the batter's eye bent forward from the wind. The green tarp was blown off the fence and the commercial signage, except one for Family Eye Care, blew off the fence. They are now piled in one of the dugouts.
Remarkably, the Daktronics scoreboard in left field appears unharmed. The press box/concession stand, behind the first-base dugout, also escaped the storm's wrath as did the backstop.
The Spicer baseball field is scheduled to host the American Legion District 7, Division I Tournament July 24-26.
By coincidence, members of the Minnesota Baseball Association were at the field only 24 hours before the storm, just prior to a Legion game between New London-Spicer and Willmar. They saw the field in prime condition.
The board was looking at the field as a an alternate or backup field during the 2010 state amateur tournament hosted by Willmar and Bird Island.
The north softball field took the biggest hit. Sixty or more feet of fencing down the third-base line was twisted and leveled.
One of the two small press boxes was smashed. Several supports for the batting cage were snapped and the netting now sets in a pile.
Two portable toilets were elevated by the storm, one into the outfield and the other across Highway 23 into the grocery store parking lot.
Two light towers on the softball fields were also damaged, at least one seriously, according to one witness.
Upwards of 30 volunteers showed up Wednesday afternoon to help with the clean-up which was completed by late afternoon.
A city officer estimated damage at $125,000. The ballparks are insured.