Brown Park

Brown Park, the home field of Omaha South's American Legion team, has a new artificial turf infield that will make it even hotter for the Area tournament this weekend.

The American Legion team from Omaha South already has gotten good use out of its new artificial-turf infield at Brown Park.

But with temperatures soaring near 100 degrees this week, that turf is going to be a hot topic as the Legion Area tournaments begin Friday.

“Overall, it’s been a great thing for us," South coach Gene Felise said. “But this weekend we’re just hoping our cleats don’t melt."

Jordan’s Studio Post 331 (South) will be one of seven host teams for the Class A Area tournaments. The Packers are the third seed in the six-team A-3 tourney that begins Friday.

Felise is doing what he can to prepare for the toasty conditions. He recently purchased fans for both dugouts and has talked to his team about staying hydrated.

“They say the temperature is 10 to 12 degrees hotter on the artificial turf," he said. “We’ll just have to deal with it the best we can."

The Packers have had a successful summer season, going 24-18. But Felise said his team, which was 20-6 at one time, needs to improve if it hopes to qualify for the state tournament.

“That No. 3 seed is the highest we’ve had in the five years I’ve been here," he said. “But we need to play better than we have lately."

Felise said he had one final word of advice for his team to avoid the heat this weekend.

“Play good defense," he said. “And get back into the shade of the dugout as quickly as possible."

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There is good news in the forecast. After very hot days Friday and Saturday, the projected high temperature Sunday is 82 degrees.

The installation of the artificial turf at historic Brown Park was completed in late spring. The Packers played a few varsity games on it before getting full use of it this summer.

“It’s been awesome, because we’ve played a lot of games when other teams were getting rained out," Felise said. “It’s also nice for the players, who don’t have to stay and work the field after games."

The Brown Park outfield also is scheduled for an artificial-turf makeover that will begin shortly after the completion of the area tournament.

The Packers will open the tourney with a 3 p.m. game against fourth-seeded Medicine Man Pharmacy (Omaha Skutt). The other A-3 games Friday will be Woodhouse Post 211 Navy (Elkhorn South) vs. the Mack Brothers Huskies (Omaha Northwest) at 5:30 and C&H Construction (Omaha Burke) vs. SOS Heating & Cooling (Ralston) at 8.

The other metro-area sites for Friday’s tourneys are Seymour Smith Park, Millard South and Papillion-La Vista South. The other three Class A Area tournaments will be held at Lincoln’s Sherman Field, Columbus and North Platte.

The champion and the runner-up from each of the seven Class A Area tourneys will advance to state. Omaha Creighton Prep and Kearney, the host teams for state, are automatic qualifiers.

The Class B and Class C Area Legion tournaments also begin Friday at several sites. Like Class A, most of the tournaments will run through Tuesday.

The Class B state tournament will be held in Gering, and the Class C state tourney will be played in Syracuse. All state tournaments will run July 27-31.

Mike covers high school sports, primarily volleyball in the fall, girls basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer. He also reports on horse racing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MPattersonOWH. Phone: 402-444-1350.

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