Office of Emergency Services Chief Eric Ewing, left, and Cal Fire Battalion Chief Tim Williams examine the breach in the Piute Creek Levee, which broke Tuesday, March 21, flooding Memorial Park and the baseball field. Photos by Makenzie Davis

Levee break floods Memorial Park field

The Lassen Community College baseball team formed two lines and quickly passed down sand bag after sand bag to fill a breach in the Piute Creek levee Tuesday, March 21, which was flooding the field. It took more than a 1,000 sand bags to block the flow of water.

The Memorial Park baseball field can’t catch a break from this wet weather.

Already, due to the January and February heavy rains, flooding in the park pushed back home games this season, but with a Piute Creek levee break Tuesday, March 21, the field has seen a new level of flooding.

According to Lassen Community College head baseball coach Frank Avilla, at the deepest point, there were at least a couple feet of water in the outfield.

“We’ve got to do our very best to get the field ready for not only us, but the high school team as well,” said Avilla, who has coached at Lassen for seven years.

The levee breach was noticed around 2:30 p.m. and local agencies responded to help fill the growing hole in the bank, which was diverting gushing Piute Creek water straight onto the field.

“It was a very quick response,” added Avilla.

Through forming a train, sand bags were quickly passed down one by one to help fill the void in the creek bank. Members of the Lassen Community College baseball team helped to preserve their field and impressed the coach.

“We have a great group of kids,” said Avilla. “They’ve been working their tails off at the field.”

The players were joined by coaches, Susanville Fire Chief James Moore, Susanville Police Chief John King, Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon, Office of Emergency Services Chief Eric Ewing, Cal Fire, and other deputies and officers, all of which garnered a big thank you from Avilla for their response in dealing with the breach.

According to Moore, the gaping hole took more than 1,000 sand bags and four yards of loose sand to fill. As of press time, water was still slowly leaking from the breach.

Now, according to Moore, city staff and engineers will have to go out and look at the levee break to think of a more permanent solution.

The fire chief also warned that the wet weather is not gone.

“We’re not through this yet,” said Moore, as he explained that local residents should continue to be aware of their surroundings. If they move sand bags to clean up, they should place them back where they were.

The ground is still saturated and “it doesn’t take much,” he added. If flooding occurs, Moore said to call 911 just to get someone out there to assess the situation.

On Tuesday, the Piute Creek rose quickly, but according to Moore, this was the largest event from the wet weather this week.

Now it’s just time to pump the water from the baseball field and try and host some home games. However, despite being unlucky with weather and not playing a game on home turf this year, the team is still leading in the Golden Valley Conference.

“We’re going to do our best,” said Avilla.