Sullivan, Mo. (KSDK) - A local girls softball league is ripped off, just months before the start of the season. The thieves broke into a storage unit and stole $4,000 worth of equipment.
It happened in Sullivan, Missouri, which is about 70 miles southwest of St. Louis.
"19 teams worth of equipment in there and they came and cleaned us out," says head umpire Kristi Wheeler.
She says the season is right around the corner and for the 250-300 kids looking forward to it this year, they are not going to give in.
"Games will start in may, regardless," says Wheeler. "Even if we have to have the teams share their gear I think that's what we will try and do, but we don't want this to affect the kids."
For the athletes, including 6-year-olds, Evvie Blankenship and Dorie Richardson, how do you explain that a bad guy stole the equipment?
"We've tried to explain that a not very nice person came in and took all of our things and a lot the younger kids don't understand," says Wheeler.
The Sullivan Girls Softball Association has been around for decades and offers teams for girls ages 5 - 14. They kept all of their equipment in one place and the storage unit hadn't been looked at since last October.
Now in just a matter of weeks, the league has to come up with about $4,000 to buy all new equipment.
Wheeler hopes the community will step up to the plate for the league and for players like Evvie and Dorie.
"We have faith in the community of Sullivan and the surrounding area who have kids that come and play here also, that they will help us get back on our feet," says Wheeler.
The league was going to add a high school division this summer and they are still determined to do just that.
They need your help, donations can be sent to:
PO Box 464
Sullivan, MO 63080
Signup for the league starts this weekend.