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River Islands planning dedication Wednesday

River Islands is in a league of its own when it comes to providing a baseball facility for youth sports.

Cambay Group has completed the 500-seat lighted Islanders Field nestled up against the San Joaquin River levee near the future town center of the 11,000-home planned community of River Islands at Lathrop.

Tournament play is already booked through November and starts this weekend. Area high schools in Tracy, Lathrop, and Manteca will be able to use the regulation field that within three years will become the home field for River Islands High opening in 2022. The campus being built less than two miles away will have separate practice fields.

The field has a concession stand that will be run by the Boat House restaurant operators. There will be a patio dining area on decks located on either side of the announcer’s booth. The state-of-the-art scoreboard has a sound system that distributes sound in such a manner that everyone in the stadium will hear at the same level. A grassy area will be developed for “seating” on the island side slope of the levee much like Banner Island Baseball Park in Stockton beyond the outfield fences. That is in addition to a mixture of stadium style seating and bleachers. 

The field was built specifically for baseball play featuring players between 13 and 18 years of age.

While admission to tournament games are $5 those who use the future grassy slope area just off what will eventually by an 18-mile trail in a greenbelt atop the 300-foot wide levee encircling River Islands will be free.

 What is also free is the ribbon cutting, open house and an exhibition game between Lathrop Police Services officers and Lathrop Manteca Fire District firefighters this Wednesday, May 15.

The ribbon cutting takes place at 5 p.m. at the field located at the base of the River Islands Parkway bridge crossing of the San Joaquin River and next door to the six adult — or 12 youth — lighted soccer field complex.

Guests will be allowed to tour the complex after the ribbon cutting. The field will be cleared at 6:30 p.m. so the two teams can warm up.

Before the game starts at 7 p.m. the traditional first ball will be thrown. Four people will have the honor — Susan Dell’Osso, River Islands project manager; Don Johns, the field manager; Dan Coleman, the field designer; and Lynn Hale, the field contractor.

To assure a fast paced game, the contest will be played with each team allowed either three outs of six batters — whichever comes first.

The addition of The Islander will give San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties its sixth quality regulation baseball field. Besides the minor league Banner Islands facility in Stockton and John Thurman Field in Modesto that have fixed seating of 4,200 and 4,000 respectively, there is the former home of the Ports at Stockton’s Billy Hebert Field that seats 3,800. The Islander will have more fixed seating than either Delta College or the University of the Pacific.

The Big League Dreams sports complex in Manteca with its six Major league Baseball replica fields is designed for softball. It has more than 1,200 stadium-style seats as well as seating on the grass.

The plaza in front of the baseball field may be used for the Wednesday farmers market that starts in July assuming there are not scheduled games. If there are the farmers market will either be held at the visitors welcome center that has been relocated across the street or the nearby River Islands Tech Academy charter school.

River Islands contracted with Johns — president and head coach of the Danville-based Hoots Baseball Club that has produced an American Legion National Championship team and a Connie Mack World Series Finalists — to oversee the baseball field.

The Danville-based Mustangs Soccer Club led by John Doyle is overseeing the soccer programs at River Islands. Doyle’s storied playing history includes the Olympics, historic firsts for the United States in the World Cup, and a distinguished Major Soccer League career that included five years as the San Jose Earthquakes team captain as well as a stint as general manager.

Several tournaments have already been conducted at the soccer complex.

River Islands opted not to launch its own competitive soccer team and youth league at this time so as not to take players from existing programs. When population at River Islands and the surrounding area is sufficient a competitive team as well as leagues will be formed.

Both the baseball and soccer facilities are designed to serve not just River Islands but the rest of Lathrop as well as nearby communities such as Manteca and Tracy.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email