MARIPOSA, California — Criminals put the Mariposa County Little League in a hole of more than $1,000 after a part of the team’s home run fence was vandalized and stolen — as well as four of their bases.
The league posted about the crime on Facebook and since then has had a lot of community support to replace what was damaged and taken.
Matt Hamlett’s newphews learned the art of baseball on the field at Woodland Park in Mariposa County. For some kids in the county, it’s the one and only place to do it.
“The kids only have so many things that they can do [around the county],” said Hamlett. “So, without the little tiny stuff, they wouldn’t be able to play.”
It’s why this weekend’s discovery at the field was a blow to the community. One of the league’s board members discovered the damaged fence and eventually realized what was taken.
The league’s president, Marc Lingenfelter, said the league has been trying to turn the field into a tournament-playable one. Essential to that is creating a home run fence, which was only finished right before the 2019 season that just ended.
“We took two steps forward and now we’re one step backwards,” said Lingenfelter. “Right now, in the entire county, we don’t have a field that we can host tournaments on. Our youth have to travel great distances to play any tournaments.”
As news spread on social media, Hamlett announced he would be replacing all of the stolen bases on behalf of his business, Yosemite Vacation Rentals in Oakhurst.
After that, many others announce they’d be making donations.
The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crime, classifying it as grand theft. However, with no witnesses or surveillance footage, suspects are hard to come by.
As far as security changes for next season, the league is already looking to buy new containers to keep their equipment in.
If you want to help out the league with a donation, mail to the following address:
- PO Box 254, Mariposa, CA 95338