FERNLEY, Nev. - The Fernley Babe Ruth baseball league is gearing up for the season. But this year they have a lot less gear. It appears the shed they keep all the league's equipment in was burglarized some time in the off season. They estimate the loss at $7,000.
“We showed up last night to get our equipment ready for our new teams and get the coaches set up for practice and there was no gear left,” league president Annette Cooper said. “It's the heart of our season. Our catchers gear keeps our kids safe, they need those helmets and without practice balls and all that we have no season.”
The league prepares 13 to 15-year-olds for high school ball.
“The league is pretty important to me because I want to get ready for high school ball and hopefully get drafted to a bigger team,” 2nd baseman Chayce Barba said. “I was pretty upset about this because the league has been working really hard for us to have a great season and then they stole all the stuff and we may not be able to finish the season off.”
Matthew Woolsey has been playing ball for the last decade and says the theft hits close to home.
“I was pretty depressed because I am a catcher and they took the catchers gear,” Woolsey said. “Now I can't play the position I love and that's pretty sad.”
Cooper says it's hard enough finding funding for the small league; it only has about 40 players. But the teams have already started fundraising and some local businesses have made donations. The league welcomes donations at PO box 1749 Fernley, NV 89408.
In the meantime, the players will continue to raise money.
“We're just going to fundraise and get as much money as we can,” Woolsey said. “Every little bit helps.”