Local softball field struggles to make ends meet after several break-ins

By Holley Nees - bio | email

APPLE SPRINGS, TX (KTRE) - "Right here you can see evidence from the last break in that happened about a week ago now," said Tri-Cities Fields and Grounds Commissioner Chris Dickens.

After four break-ins, Dickens is used to it.

"It's the same type occurrence that happened on the first window," Dickens said.

Before the windows, it was the electricity.

"This entire meter box had to be replaced because they had ripped the meter box from the wall and had taken the meter itself," Dickens explained.

The list continues.

"They first tried to pry into this part of the locking system," Dickens went on, "The door itself has now bowed away from the door jam."

They even broke the LCD screen on the cash register trying to get the cash.

Their shelf used to be full of candy.   Dickens said they may have stole it out of the building, but they really stole it right out of the kid's softball mitts.

"When we have to spend that money on the repairs and things it stops us from sending them to state tournaments, sending them away, buying better equipment," he said.

Dickens said they have lost nearly $2,000, but for him, that's not the hardest part.

"Having to tell a kid who's just starting out who [doesn't] own their own equipment or [doesn't] have the financial means to purchase that equipment," said Dickens.

The League always lets kids play, even if they do not have the money, but since the break-ins the League is the one without the funds.

"It made it real difficult for us to meet our financial means as far as making sure every kid could play," he said.

Dickens will keep searching for whoever is responsible, but he wants them to stop and think.

"What if it was you, what if this impacted you, what if it was something that you loved or you enjoyed and you had to hear the words we can't," he said.

For the softball girls and Dickens, the Apple Springs ballpark is more than just a field, it's home.

The Trinity County Sheriff's Department said the case is still under investigation.   Sheriff Ralph Montemayor said they have heightened security at the fields doing periodic patrols and working with the Neighborhood Watch program in the area, but they still have no leads.