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No more bad hops?

Workers started to replace the old sod portions of the infield at Knute Nelson field with artificial turf last week.

Infielders at Alexandria's Knute Nelson Field should get truer bounces next year.

The field is also expected to handle a lot more water.

That's because artificial turf is being installed in the infield portion of the field, which is home to the Alexandria Beetles, the American Legion and VFW teams, high school players and others.

The Alexandria City Council agreed to foot the cost of the project and accepted a $47,700 bid from Midwest Sports Supply at its September 22 meeting.

Digging work began last week.

The turf has an eight-year warranty and a life expectancy of 12 years.

According to Alexandria Park Director Bill Thoennes, the grass infield was getting beat up during the summer months when more than 100 games are played on it. He told the council that conditions were getting dangerous for the players.

The turf is expected to result in truer bounces, safer infield play, better drainage and a little livelier hop on ground-balls.

The city expects to get a full payback on the purchase within 10 years because it won't have to pay for fertilizer, weed control, mowing or aeration. The turf still requires water, however, to keep the crumb-rubber base settled deep into the ground.

The turf is expected to handle drainage much better than the existing field. It's designed to absorb as much as 10 inches of rain in one hour.

The bid specifications for the project call for a completion date of no later than October 31.