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Ripon may try to compete with BLD at Mistlin
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RIPON – TPR Baseball would like to see the Mislin Sports Complex become one of the premiere ballparks in Northern California.

But in order for that to happen, organizers of the Central Valley travel squad have a wish-list of artificial surfaces for the four fields planned at the facility featuring the landmark Mistlin Tower.

“(City of Ripon staff) asked us what’s our No. 1 need? Dug outs? Stands? We said artificial turf,” Lance Boullion said at last Tuesday’s Ripon City Council meeting.

He’s a TPR Baseball director who envisions Mistlin being to Ripon what Big League Dreams is to Manteca.

“When we host an event at BLD it’s sold out three months in advance,” said Boullion, who is based out of Turlock.

He said part of the reason for that is BLD’s synthetic infield surface coupled with the involvement of the younger travel squads. At Mistlin, Boullion noted the teams currently playing there are usually age 14 and older.

“The four new fields (with the artificial turf) could bring in the age 9-and-under and 13-and-under teams from out of town. They’re the ones who travel well by staying in the hotels, dining at the local restaurants, and making it a family affair,” he said.

Boullion indicated that TPR Baseball uses 10 fields from within a 50-mile radius. Included are Pedretti Fields (Turlock), Rainbow Fields (Modesto), Twin Creeks (Sunnyvale), and, of course, BLD and Mistlin.

“We know artificial turf is costly. But it’s also easier to maintain,” he said.

Mistlin currently has two fields equipped with grass infields and pitching mounds. The four new fields planned would be made possible by the City’s Redevelopment Agency.

Last December, elected leaders agreed to take a loan of over $5 million from RDA to the Parks Fund for this project. The money would be repaid over time through the Public Facility Financing Plan.

Meanwhile, TPR Baseball is hosting an age 14-and-older tournament this weekend at Mistlin. The 12-team event will include travel squads from Redding, Sacramento, Fresno, and the Bay Area, according to Boullion.