Former Students Win Field of the Year!

Staff (left to right) Braeden Gwalchmai, Brian Cafferty, Matthew Sarault, and Head Groundskeeper Guy Vaillancourt receive CAN AM Field of the Year 2018 from league commissioner, Miles Wolff. Photo courtesy of Marc LaFleur.

Guy Vaillancourt and Matthew Sarault both completed the Baseball Field Management certificate course in later summer 2018. And they just won a major award!

The self-paced online certificate course covers topics like field layout, infield skins and pitcher’s mounds, turfgrass maintenance, and pest management. Perfect for groundskeepers, baseball coaches and anybody else interested in baseball or softball field maintenance, the lecture material is offered as audio slideshows and instructional videos. The course material is assessed by students completing quizzes and games.

Another thing Guy and Matthew have in common is that they’re also groundskeepers at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park, Ottawa, Canada, home to the Champions Baseball Club. Guy, the head groundskeeper, has guided his staff to CAN AM Field of the Year awards in 2015, 2016 and 2018.  See OTTAWA’S RCGT PARK NAMED PLAYING FIELD OF THE YEAR.

Matthew notes, the award is decided upon by league team managers and pitching coaches with each team allowed two votes. The field is judged on criteria like edges, playability, moisture, the mound and aesthetics.

“I know that the opposing teams always appreciate how our edges are nice and flush, without lips. They also comment on the moisture of the skin and how there are true hops, and how the clay work in the batter’s box is always soft and easy to dig into.” – Matthew Sarault

The hard work of the dedicated staff keeps their natural grass field in shape for about 50 home games a season. According to Matthew, “Pam’s course definitely played a factor in that achievement.” Guy maintains the pitcher’s mound and it may be the best in the league. The staff takes pride focusing on the little things that players notice versus extravagant mowing patterns.

While no one works at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park all year, there are at least three staff members from April – November. During the season, additional staff keep the field game-ready. On games days, four staff members do all the work. They consider themselves to be fortunate to be working on a AAA caliber field.

Matthew mentioned that he and Guy move to another facility during the winter months and drive a Zamboni! Sounds like a cool way to spend the off-season!

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