Equipment needed: drag mat or large rake, toolbox, bases, pitcher's plate, batter's box template, chalker.
Drag or rake the field leaving a smooth level surface. This will give the ball a truer hop for the players. Areas of hard-pan do not need to be dragged or raked. If you use the drag mat, be aware that it can leave ridges. Knock these down with the rake. Remove any rocks, pine cones, or other foreign debris.
Place the bases. The double base goes at first base with the orange part in foul territory. On fields with dual post holes, be sure the bases are at the proper distance. (See distances table on this page.)
Drive the spike into the dirt at the point of home plate. This is the primary reference point to lay out the field.
To make the foul lines: Find the roll of string in the toolbox. Place the loop over the spike and draw the string out to the edge of the grass. Place a heavy object (e.g., the hammer) on the string to keep the line taut. The string should just pass the edge of third base; the base is entirely in fair territory. When properly placed at first base, the string passes over the crease dividing the double base. Do not chalk the foul line at this time. First, the batter's box on this side of home plate will need to be placed.
To place the batter's box: There are various templates for the batter's box. One has an outline for home plate; its use is self-explanatory. The other template may be as simple as a 3' x 7' PVC pipe outline with a 6" stub on one of the long sides. The stub will be 4' from one end and 3' from the other. The batter's box is placed so that the 4' length is toward the pitcher. The end of the stub is placed at the middle corner on home plate. The middle corner is the one between the front corner and the point. See the home plate diagram above.
The left and right-handed batter's box lines should be parallel. Place the template as described above. Walk out to second base and check that the box does not appear crooked. Adjust and check as necessary.
To chalk the batter's box: When satisfied with placement, walk on the template. This will make an impression in the dirt. Flip the template over, check and align the other batter's box as described above, walk on the template to make an impression. Remove the template and check the alignment. Use the chalker to go over the impression you have made for both batter's boxes. Now chalk the foul line previously laid out, following the string. Do not chalk inside the batter's box. Start where the string exits the batter's box, chalk to the base, start again just after the base, and stop at the edge of the grass. Do not chalk the grass (the city objects). Pull up the string and do the other foul line.
The runner's lane: The lane is 3' into foul territory starting halfway between home plate and first base. You can free-hand this, or measure the start using the tape measure and spike at home plate. The batter's box template is 3' wide so that is a convenient reference. If using the template to scratch a line, you may want to do this before chalking the first base line. Chalk the runner's lane starting from the foul line, moving 3' into foul territory, turn left, and continue until but not past first base.
To place the pitcher's plate: Extend the measuring tape from spike to second base. Place the front edge of the pitcher's plate centered at the proper distance from home plate. This will be 30', 35', or 40' depending on the age division. Walk back to home plate and check that the plate appears correctly placed (i.e., centered on the line between home plate and second base and not misaligned.) Go back to the pitcher's plate and drive the spikes into the dirt.
If this field is being used for the 6U division, strike an arc at 12' from the point of home plate. Put the end loop of the measuring tape over the spike at home plate, go out to 12'. Make an arc at this distance from using the handle of the hammer, grabbing it and the tape at the 12' mark with one hand. The arc is drawn from the first base line to the third base line. Chalk the arc.
Make the pitcher's circle as follows: Drive the spike at the center of the back edge of the pitcher's plate. Take the tape measure, place the end loop over the spike, go out to 8' on the tape measure. Mark a circle at this distance. This can be done by using the handle of the hammer, grabbing it and the 8' mark on the tape with one hand, and walking around the pitcher's plate. Chalk the circle. Remove the spike and return it to the toolbox.
Chalk coaches boxes 15' long, 3' deep at a distance of 8' from the base line. The furthest part of the box from home plate should be even with first or third base. See the field diagram for placement. The coaches boxes can be drawn free-hand. Some of our fields will not allow the box to be as far away as 8' from the base lines. Use your best judgment.
Chalk a circle 5' in diameter near each dug-out door. This is the on-deck circle.
Return the hammer, tape measure, roll of string, and spike to the toolbox. Make sure the toolbox, template, and chalker are completely off the field of play.
Lightly water the field to help keep the dust down. Avoid water on home plate and the bases as this will make them slippery.
At Memorial Park, return the equipment to the red cart. At Clover Park, the equipment should be returned to the proper place.
Procedure for Subsequent Games
Rake or drag rough sections of the field. These areas are likely to be near the base paths, the pitching circle, and around home plate. The goal is to smooth these areas to reduce "bad hops".
Re-chalk lines as needed. Not all lines will need to be re-chalked. It is not necessary to redo the layout.
If time allows, lightly water to keep the dust down.
Time may be very limited before the next game is due to be played. Your priority is to re-chalk and knock down the rough areas, particularly between 1st and 2nd, 2nd and 3rd, and along the base-lines.