WILLIAMSBURG — Hundreds of eager batters, pitchers and sprinters are being forced to put a pause on darting around the bases this spring.
Pathwork to fix flooding at McCarren Park has closed off the northern swath of the park including the softball fields, officials said. And for the Williamsburg Softball League, a neighborhood institution with more than 300 members, the closure has punctured their practice schedule and could threaten their whole season.
"Normally we would have begun practices yesterday and allowed for teams to come down, for new players to try out and have our spring training, but obviously we were unable to," said the league's commission Holland Cowger. "If the fences aren't down by opening day...yikes! I almost don't want to think about it!"
A Parks Department spokeswoman said they hoped to reopen the softball fields by the league's opening day April 7, but noted that the rest of the park by the paths would remain closed until construction was complete.
"All three fields at McCarren will open on time, however we are revisiting the schedule and some permits may be altered. We will reach out to the affected leagues to make them aware of any changes," the spokeswoman Meghan Lalor said. "We are hoping to have the pathwork complete by summer 2013."
Cowger said his league's "ministry of entertainment" had been calling the Parks Department twice a week to push them to reopen the fields by April 7. But he said many members were still "worried" about the canceled practices and the potential delayed games.
"I have a lot of players inquiring," he said.