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Gopher Infestation Forces Sacramento Baseball Team Out Of Home Field

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento high school baseball team has been forced out of their home field by gophers that have dug hundreds of holes.

Jay Landreth, the head coach of the John F. Kennedy High School varsity baseball team, said it's a safety hazard. Parents are putting pressure on the district to fix it.

"I've twisted my ankle multiple times out there and gotten hurt from it," said Kai Willis, a senior on the team.

Injuries like that mean missed games, which hurt the whole team. Coach Landreth said all those small holes eventually become larger sinkholes. He worries the problem will just get worse.

"Our fear is if they get up to full speed on it in a game situation and fall into one of the sinkholes, we're going to have a broken ankle, a torn knee, or even a broken leg," Landreth said.

This year's season was the last straw. The baseball team now plays their games at other fields, which costs extra money.

"But not only can the baseball players not use it, the softball players can't use it, the PE students can't use it and we have a soccer team that would also like to practice on this field," said Stacey Corcoran, who has a son on the JV baseball team.

CBS13 reached out to the Sacramento City Unified School District and they agreed the problem is bad and the field doesn't meet minimum standards. They said in a statement: "The district will address these concerns beginning with a robust and ongoing pest management program to address the gophers before filling the holed with native soil."

This is supposed to happen by February 2022.

"We don't have a lot of trust that's going to happen since this has been going on for decades and only gotten worse," Corcoran said.

Meantime, the players just want a home game, at their home field.

"It's not like playing at Kennedy. Our friends can't come watch. It's not our home field. There's just less of a sense of pride there," said Ryson Kirkland, a senior player on the varsity team.

CBS13 looked into how a pest control operation involving gophers would work. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, gophers are considered pests, so you can legally remove them as they are not protected. You usually do that with poison or by trapping them.

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