Vandals Damage Charleston Miracle League Baseball Field In West Ashley
West Ashley, S.C. —
Forest Park Playground in West Ashley is a convenient place for neighborhood kids to shoot hoops, ride down a slide, and run around. The W.L. Stephens Aquatic Center is there, too. But the facility is also where children with special needs can play baseball. Now, their facility is damaged.
“Somebody came out with a paintball gun and just started shooting stuff,” said Miguel Mata.
He surveyed the damage Thursday morning from vandals who left their mark on the children’s baseball facility.
“We’ve had other issues with vandalism with the tarp. This is the first time the tarp has been lit on fire,” he explained.
He pointed to the charred fabric used as a canopy near the ballfield. Mata said someone set it on fire Tuesday night. The torched tarp dripped flames and melted the turf. Its where 60 special needs kids play a modified game of America’s favorite past time.
“It provides the game of baseball for a group of people who wouldn’t normally be able to play,” he said.
As a board member and coach for the Charleston Miracle League, Mata is also a proud father of three sons who play.
“That’s a little bit of a dated photo when he was in the youth league,” he said while pointing to photos of the kids on his phone.
Mata and other volunteers for the group are helping Charleston Police look for clues. They want to find the suspects who damaged a facility where families gather for games and sportsmanship.
“I’m frustrated. I’m upset that people can take advantage of us because we’re an easy target. Right? But I’m disappointed because we’re the good guys,” he said.
Now It’s the bad guys who investigators are trying to find so a senseless crime can be solved.
“If it comes out that we can get information behind who did this stuff then we would like for those people to be held accountable,” Mata said.
Charleston Police say they’re adding extra patrols to the neighborhood. Volunteers with Charleston Miracle League hope security cameras captured the vandals in the act. They want as much evidence as possible to identify who damaged this important property.
Organizers estimate it’ll cost about a thousand dollars to fix. They tell ABC News 4 the league has money in the bank. But they didn’t want to use it to repair vandalism. They’re saving to replace the aging baseball field in the next few years. That’ll cost about $200,000.