Players of the Riverton All-Star team - also this year's state champions - played a practice game Thursday, but half the players are missing their equipment. When Richard Poppe and his players learned of the theft their hearts sank. One player says, “I'm pretty angry and a little disappointed.”
The 16 to 18 year olds have been working hard to fundraise, pulling together much needed money to go to California for the Pacific Regional Babe Ruth Tournament. If they win there they'll go straight to the World Series. But now there's a kink in the plan.
The thief or thieves took two sports bags filled with over $2,600 of baseball gear. That's about how much the team has made from their fundraising. Pitcher and outfielder Kaysen Newman says, “We've been out there hitting the streets trying to earn the money to get there and we're almost in a deficit now with that gear being gone so it makes it hard.” First baseman Colton Poppe says, “Without your equipment you can't really go out there and do your job, do everything good, and it is my last year so I wanted to go out there and make a good representation of the city for my last year doing this.”
Who stole the equipment and why is still a mystery. Richard Poppe says, “We were all out looking in dumpsters because that if somebody were to take this stuff they're going to look in it and go ‘Oh it's just baseball stuff.’”
The team is now making a plea to the person or people responsible. Richard Poppe says, “Whoever took it, if they were just to come by in the middle of the night and just throw it over my fence I’d be the most grateful person you'd ever see.”
They're also hoping the community will come together and donate enough to make these player's dreams come true.
The team needs to leave in five days. They're scheduled to play on July 22nd. Donations can be made at this website, www.2010statechamps.org.