Minor league club, city are installing safety netting down the lines at Ron Tonkin Field.

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - The Hillsboro Hops and the city of Hillsboro are extending the netting down the first and third baselines at Ron Tonkin Field in line with Major League parks for the upcoming season.The Hillsboro Hops and the City of Hillsboro, in line with all of the major and many minor league parks across the nation, are extending the safety netting at Ron Tonkin Field beyond the dugouts down both the first- and third-base lines.

The Ultra Cross Braided & Knotless Dyneema Netting is knotless and dyed green. Its manufacturer bills it as the first netting developed with 95 percent visibility. It is the same netting used at 15 different Major League Baseball stadiums, including Safeco Field, Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium.

According to the Hops, the upgrade will both improve the sightlines for everyone currently protected by netting and extend the protection down to sections 4 and 16 at Ron Tonkin Field.

"We want to thank our great partners at the City of Hillsboro for their help in enhancing the safety of fans coming to our ballpark," said Hillsboro Hops President KL Wombacher.

An outcry for netting has increased in recent years, as wayward balls and bats have resulted in gruesome and sometimes serious injuries for fans. A young girl was struck by a 105-mph foul ball at Yankee Stadium in September, just a couple months removed from a similar incident at the same stadium. In other instances, like a 2015 incident at Fenway Park in Boston, shards of broken bats have flown into the crowd and led to severe injuries.

In addition to baseball, the National Hockey League has also taken precautions in recent years, requiring all arenas to have protective netting extending 18 feet above the boards behind each goal. The rule was implemented nearly 15 years after a 13-year-old fan was struck in the head by a deflected puck and later died of complications stemming from the injury.

As of this season, all 30 major league teams have extended netting at least to the end of each dugout in an effort to curb injury to fans by balls or bats leaving the field of play.

The netting will be installed in advance of the Hops home opener on June 20.

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