RIVERVIEW, Fla. - A daycare operator is worried about the safety of the children on his playground.
He says baseballs from Sumner High School's field next door are flying over the fence and he’s worried about the kids.
“As soon as we find out they’re out there practicing, I have to pull my children in,” says Al Machetti, owner of Discovery World Academy.
He’s owned the daycare for nearly 10 years.
Sumner High School was just built and this is their first baseball season.
There is a high fence shielding passing cars on the left side of the field, but there’s a standard fence in right field, in the direction of the daycare. Machetti says he’s picked up nearly a dozen baseballs on his playground.
“One of these balls is going to end up hitting my kids and causing severe harm, If not more,” said Machetti.
There are no distance markers on the outfield fence, but a survey company did a satellite measurement. Based on that measure, it’s about 300 feet from home plate to the right field fence, and about 30 more feet to the wooden fence around the daycare playground, which sits at a lower elevation than the school.
So it appears that about 330 to 340 feet separate the batter at home plate and the children on the playground.
Machetti says he has asked the school’s principal to install protective netting, but a school district spokesperson says currently there are no plans for netting. The spokesperson says the principal and baseball coach don’t believe any players can hit a ball as far as the daycare playground. They suggest that the balls may have been tossed there by outfielders or thrown by people playing on weekends.
Machetti says the evidence is as hard as the balls landing on his playground.
“Hillsborough County needs to step up to the plate and get it corrected,” he says.
For now, when play begins on the baseball field, it ends on the daycare playground.