SYKESVILLE -- Grading of the land for Sykesville Park is expected to begin this fall, and the fields should be ready for use in the spring of 1994.
John P. Little, the county's director of Recreation and Parks, said seeding and layout of the seven baseball and softball diamonds will follow the grading. He said the fields need to sit a year before being used so the turf can become established.
When developed, it is expected to be home for the Sykesville youth baseball program and also will include three multipurpose fields for football, soccer and lacrosse, a concession building and other amenities.
The new complex is being built, in part, to replace privately owned ball fields that will be destroyed when Obrecht Road is straightened and improved within the next several years.
While the exact alignment of the re-done thoroughfare is not certain, county officials expect it to take part of the Sykesville youth baseball complex just north of town on land belonging to the Fairhaven community.
"We're doing everything we can so we don't impact the Sykesville program," said Little.
County Public Works Department engineer Deborah Butler, who is overseeing the Obrecht Road project, said planning for the road will begin soon but actual construction won't start until new fields are ready.
The project has been discussed since at least the mid-1980s, and concern arose that it would seriously damage Sykesville's baseball program, the largest in the county. The existing complex has seven diamonds of varying sizes, though some outfields overlap, preventing all from being used simultaneously. The Sykesville group also uses another diamond about one half-mile west on Obrecht Road.
The county last winter leased 100 acres from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The land, just east of Raincliff Road, is part of Patapsco State Park.
"The park will be a positive thing for the community," Little said, adding that a public briefing on the status of the project is planned for this summer.
Some who helped start the Carroll County Rangers youth baseball program last winter said their teams, composed of top players from around the county, could compete with the best in their age brackets.
Last week the Rangers age 14 squad showed that statement was no idle boast, as it copped the Baltimore City Early Bird Tournament.
The Rangers, who will play in the Baltimore Metro League, nailed down the tournament on May 1 by edging the league's defending 13-14 champion Yankee Rebels, 5-4, at Herring Run Park in Northeast Baltimore.
The seesaw finale, shortened to five innings because of darkness, saw the Carroll team rally twice. They scored the two deciding runs in the fifth.
The Yankee Rebels had knocked the Rangers into the losers' bracket in the double-elimination affair on April 24 with a rain-shortened 4-3 decision.
The Carroll squad emerged with a 4-3 win over the Dayton Raiders of Howard County and a 7-1 verdict over the Yankee Rebels. Winning pitcher Mike Peters silenced the Rebels with a three-hit complete game.
Rangers coach Dennis Keruly tried to restrain his enthusiasm as his squad entered its inaugural campaign in the Metro League.
"[The tournament win] spells well for the season," Keruly said.
Two county squads won indoor-soccer titles Sunday at the Four Seasons Sports Complex near Hampstead.
North Carroll spiked the Hanover Outlaws, 10-4, to win the men's unlimited title, and Smallwood edged the Westminster Heat, 4-3, to win the under-12 girls crown.