High school baseball team denied access to city softball fields



ATLANTA, Ga.,None - An Atlanta high school baseball team is fighting for the right to practice at softball fields across the street from campus.

There is no baseball field at Grady High School, but nearby Piedmont Park is home to two softball fields. Parents say baseball players would not have to load up on a bus and travel for miles to practice if they could just walk across the street.

"I get home at 9:30 some nights. We don't have any time to do homework," baseball player Luke Leonard said.

Leonard says his 45-minute trip to another school is a major hassle, especially because there is a city park with fields so close by.

"It's a perfectly good field. Why can't we? It's so convenient," Leonard said.

The park and its commissioners have repeatedly told the team no.

"Baseball is just not compatible," Parks Commissioner George Dusenberry said.

Dusenberry said the fields are designed for softball, not baseball, and he said he is concerned about the safety of park goers if baseball was allowed.

"This is not designed to accommodate baseballs flying across the track as kids are having practice, and we don't want it to be," Dusenberry said.

Dusenberry suggested that the team practice on a field at nearby Central Park, but parents say the field would need to be reconfigured, which would be costly.

"The safety issue, I think, is a legitimate concern," Councilman Alex Wan said.

Leonard says there is no difference between a softball hitting someone and a baseball.

"If it hits you, it's going to hurt," Leonard said.

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