While reconstructing a pitcher’s mound can
be labor-intensive, the job can be fairly simply with a little know-how and some capable
helpers. You’ll need some tools for the job, as you see listed here, not all are required
but having them will make your job a lot easier. Your materials list should include these items.
For professional results, we recommend Turface athletic clay and conditioners. The first
step in the process is to take your measurements. This will allow you to verify the placement
of the pitching rubber in relation to home plate.
To start, drive an 18-inch spike at the apex of home plate, then tie your twine 10 inches
above the surface of the plate. Drive another 18-inch spike behind the second base peg,
and tie off your line 10 inches above the skin. Be sure the string is tight. The top
of the pitching rubber needs to sit exactly 10 inches above the level of home plate, so
you’ll use the string to make sure that it’s positioned correctly. To locate the correct
placement of the pitching rubber, measure 60 feet 6 inches from the apex of home plate
to the mound, then sink an eight-inch nail directly below the line. This will mark the
front center placement of the new pitching rubber.
Next, you need to verify that the diameter of the mound is still accurate. From the nail
you just put in, measure out 18 inches toward home plate, and drive another eight-inch nail
under the line. This will mark your exact center of the mound. Using your measuring
tape, measure out nine feet from the nail to the outer edge of the mound, use athletic
field paint to outline the diameter of the mound. If you have any turf that’s inside
the paint line, you’ll want to remove it and clear any debris. At this point you can remove
the old pitching rubber. You may be able to use the existing rubber as long as it’s in
good shape and has two clean edges. Just rotate the worn side to the bottom. On this particular
job, we chose to use a brand new rubber. Remove enough material from the hole left
over by the old pitching rubber to make room for the new one. Allow for a couple of inches
of new clay to create a level base to work from, then tamp down firmly. Since a regulation-size
pitching rubber is six inches tall, the distance from your base to the string line should be
six inches. Now that you’ve prepared the area, pack the inside of the new rubber with clay.
This will not only support the structure, but will give it added weight to keep it in
place. Mark a line down the exact center to help you with alignment. Place the rubber
so that the front edge is touching the eight-inch nail that you used to mark its placement.
The center line should sit directly under the string. Add or remove clay to level the
rubber so that the string is resting on top. You will likely need to make small adjustments
until the pitching rubber is level both front to back and side to side. To confirm that
the pitching rubber is square to home plate, take measurements from the front left corner
of home plate to the front left corner of the pitching rubber. Do the same to the right
side, making sure that both measurements are the same. Once the pitching rubber is in place,
add a few inches of clay around it, pack it down, and lock it in.
At this point you can lay out the pitcher’s table. The table should be five feet wide,
three feet deep, with the front edge six inches from the front side of the pitching rubber.
Excavate or add loose clay as needed until you reach a level that allows the clay block
to sit about a half inch below the rubber. It is extremely important that you remove
all loose debris and sweep the entire surface of the mound thoroughly after excavation,
now you can form the new table. Start by lightly moistening the area so the new clay will adhere
to the base. Use loose mound clay to make a level surface and pack it down with a tamper.
Be careful not to disturb the pitching rubber. The loose clay should be applied in one-inch
layers, tamping as you go. Shake on a layer of AquaSmart Pro. This is
a super-absorbent, polymer-coated sand that will help the clay retain moisture over a
longer period of time. Moisten the area again. Then start adding the MoundMaster blocks.
Begin with the area around the rubber, making sure that the blocks are tightly fitted together.
Fill in the remaining space with blocks, then pack it all down with a tamper. Add another
layer of AquaSmart and finish by spreading mound clay over the entire area, making enough
for it to fill in any open seams, and then tamp it all down.
Once you have the table completed, you can start on the slope and the landing area. The
slope needs to be as wide as the pitching rubber, which is 24 inches, and should extend
seven feet toward home plate. This will also mark the front edge of the landing area. The
size of the landing area should be wide enough to support a pitcher’s follow-through. Five
to six feet wide and three to four feet deep should be sufficient. Now that the slope and
landing area are marked off, excavate three inches to make room for the new blocks. Follow
the same procedure as the table by adding loose clay, AquaSmart, and blocks until the
area is completely filled in and packed down. Keep in mind that the slope should drop one
inch for every foot from the front edge of the table to the end of the landing area.
You can use your line to make sure that the drop is sufficient by taking measurements
at one-foot increments. Once the table, slope, and landing area are complete, moisten the
entire mound. Be careful not to flood it. You just want enough water so that you can
apply the last layer of clay without it clumping up. Open your remaining bags of mound clay
and cover the entire surface of the mound. Use a landscape rake to get an even layer
over the entire area. Finish by tamping or you can use a sod roller to make the job go
a lot quicker. The final step in the process is to give your
mound a professional look by covering it with a layer of Turface conditioner. The purpose
of the conditioner is to help retain moisture in the clay. Spread the conditioner with a
rake to make sure you have an even coating. Give the mound a good soak, and cover it with
a tarp to hold in the moisture. You have a professional pitcher’s mound that will allow
your players to perform at their very best and reduce your maintenance as the season
plays out. All the materials and tools used for this
mound reconstruction can be found at your local Ewing branch. You can also visit us
online at ewingirrigation.com.