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Community joins baseball to support families fighting cancer

Crowds at the corner of Woodlawn and Market that are normally decked out in green were plastered in pink on Friday night.

Derby baseball held its PINK out game, supporting the families of Jason and Ruby Syring and Rob and Brandi Hileman as they battle breast cancer.

Coach Todd Olmstead approached staff at the high school about hosting the benefit game on Friday. Thanks to efforts from other local families and the Derby Baseball Booster Club, they saw the rewards of raising nearly $2,000 in support.

“Those two women are near and dear to me,” Olmstead said. “… I’ve known Rob for 30-plus years and I went to school with Jason. We love the families and we wanted to do anything we could do to help them.”

A raffle helped add funds to t-shirt sales, making it an unforgettable evening for each family.

Prior to the start of the varsity game at 6:00 p.m, pink balloons were handed out to coaches, families and team members. Many of them had names tied to them in honor of someone currently fighting or who had previously fought the disease.

“We’ve all been going through this with our families this whole time, but to have so much of the community around us and physically standing there in support was really neat,” Rob added.

As pink filled the horizon, family members saw the unrelenting sign of hundreds raising awareness for breast cancer.

“I’ve never seen God work in a community like we’ve had the ability to see here,” Jason said. “Through one of the darkest times in our life, we’ve seen people at every turn rise up with prayer, food or monetary donations. It has been more than anyone else could ask for.”

Whether it be in pictures that were taken at Panther Field or any other gift given that night or previously, both families expressed an overwhelming gratitude for Derby’s support through their fight.

“I like to help other people and am not one who likes to get help [myself],” Ruby said. “Just to have so many people rally behind me in so many different ways … it’s humbling.”

Derby falls to rival Campus after fifth-inning outburst

Grant Adler’s two-run home run gave Derby a 2-1 fourth-inning lead, but Campus answered back with four runs in the next half inning to lead to a 6-4 win.

That Colt run was sparked by a two-run home run of their own from Corey Hahn. Four errors also marred an otherwise strong outing from Adler on the mound.

The junior struck out 11 batters, including the first six Campus outs. He allowed five runs, but only two earned through his five innings of work.

Derby was poised to strike in the bottom of the second inning with runners on the corners and no outs. Adler had reached on a Campus infield error and senior Bryce Atkinson singled to left.

However, the Panthers popped out on the first of two bunt attempts to lead to a pair of Colt double plays.

“The difference in the game was execution because they converted and we missed out on some key opportunities,” Olmstead added.

Atkinson (.436) and Adler (.475) each had multi-hit games for the Panthers. They also carry the two best batting averages on the team, followed closely by sophomore Luke Stewart (.425).


CAMP 0 0 0 1 4 0 1 – 6 7 2

DRBY 0 0 0 2 0 1 1 – 4 6 4

W: Leslie

L: Adler

HR: Adler (DRBY); Hahn (CAMP)

RBI: Adler 2, Farmer, Stewart (DRBY); Hahn 2, Warkins, Kahmann (CAMP)

Fun pops up at Spring into Art event

The springtime weather contributed to the steady crowd of people who attended this year’s Spring into Art event on Sunday.

Nineteen area art vendors displayed their works at Madison Avenue Central Park. Along with the artists, entertainment on the amphitheater stage, a variety of art activities for kids, goodies from the Farmers Market and multiple food trucks kept attendees busy throughout the day.

City of Derby Communications Director Kristy Bansemer said the goal of the event was to offer affordable, family-friendly entertainment in one of our city parks.

“We saw many people enjoying their day whether they were drinking a smoothie, listening to music, watching a performance, playing on the playground or picking out a new piece of art,” Bansemer said.

$7.1 million park is a go

After years of discussion and planning, the city’s latest recreational resource, Decarsky Park, has a contract to begin construction.

At its April 23 meeting, the City Council authorized proceeding with a $7.1 million contract with Multicon Construction to build the park in southeast Derby. There was one other bidder, Dondlinger Construction, which submitted a proposed quote of $7.4 million.

The project includes construction of two roads within the park, Line Drive, which will have a traffic signal at Rock Road, and Rover Lane.

Derby’s director of parks, Steve White, said along with the lower bid, references for Multicon were contacted and had “favorable responses.”

“City staff visited two local projects, met the project management team, and were pleased with the process and product,” he said.

Multicon is based in Wichita and specializes in sports construction and commercial concrete.

Among its related projects are Stryker Sports Complex and the League 42 ballfields at McAdams Park.

The emphasis in this park is going to be on active sports, specifically softball and baseball. There will be four initial fields for those sports in this part of the project, which is Phase 1.

It also will have the city’s first dog park including an agility course with artificial turf and dog water features.

While work starts soon on the park, don’t expect game balls to be thrown there for awhile. White said the park will open in 2021.

“We want to get everything open as soon as possible but we have to see how the construction goes and how the phasing goes,” he said.

That includes allowing time for outfield grass to grow and get a solid foundation.

White expects the facility to be well-received, especially the dog park, which has been much requested and the source of a lot of interest.

“The dog park is going to be crawling with animals,” White said.

The project includes $560,086 to construct a fourth field, adding to the three originally planned for the first phase. In a unique arrangement, the Derby Recreation Commission has agreed to pay that cost and the debt service on the cost associated with a fourth field. The council also approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and the DRC on the arrangement. The DRC will not own the property, but superintendent Chris Drum said it makes sense to add the field.

“We could almost double the usage with that field,” he said. “You can’t do too much with three fields. It’s almost as significant as going from two to four fields.”

Drum said the DRC is not involved to make money, but is interested in expanding recreational opportunities in the community. With the park – and its four fields with artificial turf – Derby is put in a solid position to draw regional tournaments, he said.

There are other fields in the area and Wichita, but none with the artificial turf and that means it can handle rain and other adverse weather conditions. The closest one like what Decarsky will have is about 130 miles away in Oklahoma, he said.

The park was named to honor Tomp and Vicki Decarsky in 2014 after receiving a donation of 63 acres of land on south Rock Road from Vicki Decarsky. Value of the land is about $800,000.

The Decarsky Foundation also recently pledged $57,000 for park construction, specifically to be used for equipment and artificial turf for the agility course at the dog park. In December 2017, the Foundation contributed $16,000 for a dock and walkway to the pond at the dog park.

There have been other donations, including these, all made last year:

• Dr. David and Krista Drake contributed a bronze statue of a boy with his dog to beautify the entrance of the dog park.

• The Rotary Club of Derby donated $13,000 to beautify the entry plaza with 18 shade trees.

• The Derby Community Foundation awarded a grant of $1,600 to help pay for a water bubbler play feature for the dog park.

Additional grants and donations will be sought for Phase 2 in the future, city officials say.

The active design aspect of the park began back in August 2017, when the council approved a design services contract with Professional Engineering Consultants. It included expertise from The Sports Force and WDM Architects.

For the next 1-1/2 years, there were design team meetings that included representatives of Derby Recreation Commission, USD 260, Derby Baseball Association. PEC, Sports Force, WDM, the Parks and Urban Forestry Board, and Park Hill HOA.

Also involved were city staff, council members John McIntosh and Mark Staats, and local coaches from various teams.