The Venice High School baseball and softball teams will be able to play the remainder of the season on their newly renovated home field, Los Angeles Unified School District officials said Monday. (CBSLA)
During a Zoom meeting, the district told parents and players that home games could resume at the newly-remodeled field.
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“This is definitely, exactly what we wanted to hear,” Luke Boulanger, a senior who plays third base, said.
Boulanger said being able to play his final games at Venice High School means a lot to him after losing last season to the pandemic.
“We were definitely working very hard to get to this point in the season, kind of where we can start playing games again,” he said. “And it’s just good news to hear that we finally get our field back.”
The home games were relocated after the community said a new neighbor threatened to file a lawsuit against LAUSD because balls were landing in their yard. And while officials did not address that via Zoom, they said they have offered up to $1,200 to some of the neighbors — a short-term solution to alleviate any safety concerns.
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“Most of them said, ‘Give it to a charity or give it to the team. I’d rather see it go to the team than come to us. We don’t want money, we just want people to be able to play ball, and we want to be able to not have to worry if I walk in the backyard I’m gonna get hit by a foul ball,’” Mark Hovatter, LAUSD chief facilities executive, said.
The Boulanger family celebrates the decision to let the Venice High School baseball and softball teams play on the field. (CBSLA)
CBSLA spoke with a person at the home in question, but she did not want to speak on camera. However, she said that the people living in the home wanted to find a solution that got the players back on the field while also addressing safety issues.
Parent Tracy Boulanger said she understood the concerns, but said it was not fair to take it out on the kids.
“I’m grateful for those that agreed to the terms and I’m looking forward to next season and promises being kept by the district,” she said.
Those promises include additional renovations to the field so the players can use their home field and the neighbors do not have to worry about baseballs ending up in their yards.
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As for this season, there are six home games left — four baseball games and two softball games. The next game is scheduled for Thursday, when the Venice High baseball team will take on Palisades High.