By Jennifer McGraw

RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) – Thieves targeted a baseball field twice in two months leaving a path of destruction and costing thousands.

It’s a sport that teaches discipline and hard work, but at Ahlstrom Park, it’s also teaching little leaguers tough life lessons.

“Every time, it only hurts the kids. That’s the main thing,” said the Rancho Cordova Little League President Dennis Lamantia.

He said thieves struck again, this time destroying the door to the snack bar, leaving behind a huge mess.

“They pried the door in half. It actually was bent completely open,” he said.

It comes just two months after a huge blow to the league. Thieves broke into a shed full of equipment used to keep the fields trimmed for kids to play ball.

“Wiped us out of all that completely. That hurts. That’s very expensive and hard for us to get back, ya know, we got to buy one piece at a time,” Lamantia said.

With a three-day tournament on the books, they’re re-stocking the shelves out of pocket.

“We just do what we can and chip in to make it better,” he said. “It happens too often. Police do all they can, but it’s hard to patrol an empty school lot.”

Parents who volunteer their time are just as frustrated.

“It’s very upsetting to hear something like that where you come every day to play with the kids, to help,” said Cassie Reyes who has a son in the league. “What do we do? How do we stop it?

Lamantia said the league will keep coming up with ways to make it tougher on thieves, but that comes at a cost.

“It will either be the registration fees or additional sponsors,” he said.

But in a community that has already been so helpful, the thieves will eventually be the only ones striking out, he said.


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