AUGUSTA — Keith Gleason recalls the sounds coming from the baseball fields along Piggery Road when he was growing up. He still hears the echoes today, despite living 900 miles away in North Carolina.

“I can hear the sounds of baseball,” said Gleason, who grew up in the nearby Mayfair area of Augusta. “The crack of the bat or the applause we could hear. It’s a great sound. It brings back great memories.”

Gleason is back in town this weekend to dedicate a backstop at noon Saturday at McGuire Field in memory of his father Evan who passed away a little over a year ago. The ceremony will include members from the 1990 and 1991 state championship baseball teams from Cony High School. Former coach Jeff Trundy is also expected to attend. Gleason played for the 1990 team before going on to captain three sports at Colby College.

Evan Gleason and his wife raised five children, all of whom took advantage of the fields along the Piggery Road. He served as their youth coach and later, for 31 years, as an umpire. Both frugal and humble as described by his son, Gleason wouldn’t have wanted any fuss after his death.

“That wasn’t his style,” Keith Gleason said. “I said when he goes, I’m going to do something significant in his honor.”

Gleason kicked in $5,000 of his own money and his four siblings came up with another $15,000 to get the project under way.

“Every Gleason kid contributed,” Keith said. “I wanted it to be something from the family to the community.”

The project includes black chain link fencing 30 feet high and 50 linear feet long. An additional 100 feet of fence runs from the end of the backstop to each dugout. There’s foam padding in the front of the backstop and a brick wall behind it in front of the stands.

“It was completed in March,” said Joe Linscott, board member of the Capitol Area Recreation Association (CARA) and a daily fixture at the fields.

It’s part of ongoing improvements to the two Babe Ruth League fields, Morton and McGuire, that have annually seen improvements since their inceptions in the 1970s. Both fall under the CARA umbrella which oversees 11 fields along the road for Little League baseball, youth softball, general purposes and soccer. The complex also includes a basketball court and horseshoe pits. It’s all overseen by volunteers who get maintenance help from the City of Augusta.

A backstop was also installed at Morton Field, home of Cony High School baseball. It stands 30 feet high and like McGuire will eventually be backed by a brick wall.

Linscott estimated the cost of the backstop and fencing at McGuire at about $27,00, some of it donated by the Cony Athletic Boosters, Pine State Trading Company and individuals. Much of the costs were offset by volunteers, led by Linscott, Al Cloutier, Steve Brooks and Babe Ruth president Don White.

Gleason, who has five children who play hockey and baseball among other activities, recalled playing Little League and Babe Ruth along the Piggery Road with all his friends.

“All the guys on our (high school) roster played on Piggery Road,” he said. “We went from farm league to Little League to McGuire and Morton where we played Babe Ruth together. It was a team that was destined to win.”


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