MILTON — The 8- and 9-year-old girls of the Orioles softball team in Milton love all things practice, but they noticed something earlier this season.
“It’s not fair to us because the boys have this pitch and the girls have this really bad pitch,” said one softball player.
Indeed, the neighboring field, usually reserved for boys, but sometimes played by others, is in good condition. Freshly cut grass, manicured infield and permanent bases.
But the girls’ training ground, a stone’s throw away, is a bumpy, weed-infested mess where coach Sean Collins, the father of three girls, thinks it’s too risky to hit his team.
“When the girls start wondering why the boys’ baseball diamond is in such good shape, and their pitch is basically abandoned and unplayable, I don’t really have a good answer for them,” Collins said.
Milton pays for a permit to use the fields adjacent to Houghton’s Pond, but it is actually state land owned by DCR who are solely responsible for its upkeep.
“I get that you can’t fix grass overnight, but they can at least put some dirt in it,” Collins said.
A pile of dirt in the parking lot may have been intended for the softball field, as the season is already two-thirds over.
Parent Kelly Hudak admits she initially accepted the apparent unfairness, until her two daughters and their coach questioned it.
“It really opened my eyes,” Hudak said. “Hearing people talk about it is refreshing, but it’s frustrating to have to start over.”
Proof that she says that even though the United States women’s national soccer team just won equal pay to its male counterparts, the bias in favor of men’s sports still runs deep.
“Yeah, there’s no reason boys should be better than girls,” said another young softball player.
After learning that he isn’t allowed to work in the field himself, and neither is the town of Milton, Collins says he started a dialogue with DCR a few weeks ago, but he doesn’t there was no visible action.
On Tuesday, WBZ reached out to DCR for an explanation of the apparent groundskeeping disparity, but did not hear back.