PHOENIX — Kids have been playing ball in the South Mountain Little League in Phoenix since 1953, and now the league needs some help.
Two years after parents replaced bats, balls and other equipment that were stolen, vandals have struck the league again.
Board member Michael Martinez, Sr. said the vandals stole items from several fields.
“Fencing from the tee-balls and the minor fields, backstops, dugouts and outfields [was stolen],” said Martinez. “They also stole three or four complete sets of aluminum bleachers.”
The thefts were discovered in November.
Martinez said the first time that he and his son went to check out the damage was tough.
“My son actually saw the field, and the look in his eyes just broke my heart,” Martinez said. “He almost welled up with tears because he remembers the field when he played on it.”
The league is asking for donations to raise over $40,000 for much-needed repairs, in order to get the field ready in time for the start of baseball season in March. A few businesses have already stepped up to help.
“Domino’s [Pizza] on Seventh Street and Baseline and Home Depot at 51st Avenue and Baseline have pledged to help us,” Martinez said.
The Big 5 Sporting Goods store at 35th Avenue and Baseline is also helping by allowing a group from the Little League organization to come to the store this Saturday to sign kids up for this summer’s season.
A Little League in Anthem is also pledging help.
“One of the biggest supporters and the first call I got was from Ron Weber at High Desert Little League,” said Martinez. “He said ‘We’re a baseball community. Let’s help each other.’ He’s pledged to help us reorganize, help us with equipment and help us with whatever we need.”
An account has been set up for tax-deductible donations at Wells Fargo Bank. The account number is 5495534942. You can also contact Martinez to donate at (480) 228-5784 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.