Youth sports returning to Badgett Field in Northwest Knoxville

The work is continuing in one Knoxville community where the goal is to make a difference in the lives of children.
Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 8:26 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The work is continuing in one Knoxville community where the goal is to make a difference in the lives of children. In fact, you can pretty much say, a field of dreams is about to come true.

“The Sandlot youth and the sandlot image, if you build it they will come to go along with the Field of Dreams theory, it definitely works,” says Austin McConnell, who is working to get the Tristar Park, Badgett Field complex ready for kids. McConnell says, ”This week is the five year anniversary I had to step away from the youth program, there has not been a youth program here in the past five years.”

The complex was abandoned for two to three years and then became home to some adult Rec leagues, but with the help of VCK Ventures and Smokey Mountain Social, Austin is working to get the kids in Northwest Knoxville back on the field to play.

To get the facility back in shape, McConnell says, “We’re fixing fences, previous tenants had torn down fencing, new windscreens have to be put up. The field has to be constantly turned over because they were abandoned because the grass had grown upon them. We had to open up brand new concessions because there were no concessions at all in there when we took over. It is permitted and health code inspected and then we’re also doing things as well with the COVID-19 virus having to make certain adjustments as well to prepare for it.”

Austin adds that the Sand Lot Youth Sports program will fit this community like a glove and will be a chance for kids to get involved in activities they love while doing it in a safe environment saying, ”The opportunity to give the youth some structure in today’s society especially with things that have happened this year and what’s going on in the world today. I think the kids need someplace to go, someplace safe so they can learn life lessons and skills and sports.”

The League, which offers WeeBall, T-Ball, coach pitch, softball, baseball, and soccer will cost anywhere from $65 to $85 and includes jerseys and caps with all the money going back into the ball fields. The bleachers at the park have been taken out to promote social distancing and the coaches will go through background checks before working with the kids. You can get a feel for the facility at a youth tournament scheduled there this weekend.

Right now they’re focused on the 8-under leagues having to build things up from scratch. Each year, as a foundation is built, the league will up its age limits.

For information on how to register your kids for the new league, visit, Registration will be open through July 31st.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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