HODGDON, Maine — The varsity baseball and softball fields at Hodgdon High School soon will bear the moniker of one of the district’s longtime employees.
SAD 70 school board members voted Monday evening to name the fields after custodian Graydon Drake.
“Really? Wow, that’s a surprise,” Drake said Tuesday morning. “I had no idea they were considering that. I’m flattered.”
For the past 16 years, Drake has served as a custodian at Hodgdon High School and has been the driving force behind maintaining and upgrading the fields.
“The baseball field has needed a lot of work,” Drake said. “Last year, the grass was growing in spotty and it looked like a cow pasture. The infield was pretty sad too.”
Drake said that after discussing the matter with SAD 70 Superintendent Bob McDaniel, a decision was made to bring in specialized dirt for the infield, similar to the material used on professional baseball fields. Drainage was put in place to help alleviate water issues on the baseball field.
With the surface now in tip-top shape, Drake already has set his sights on the next project — dugouts.
“We’re hoping to get some of the work or materials donated, so we can build dugouts for the kids,” he said.
According to McDaniel, Drake has put a tremendous amount of time fixing up the fields for the district.
“He really has been a one-man crew up there,” McDaniel said. “Graydon has done an outstanding job, and I thought this would be a good way to show our appreciation.”
Drake was a baseball player for Houlton High School from 1970 to 1974. He tried out for the Montreal Expos and Philadelphia Phillies in his younger days, as he dreamed of being a professional baseball player. He also attended a tryout camp in Natick, Mass., for the Boston Red Sox.
While playing baseball in Florida, Drake “threw out his arm” trying to keep up with players from New Mexico and Texas.
A plaque will be placed at both the baseball and softball fields bearing his name.