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Wichita Nonprofit Baseball League Plans Equipment Drive Following Recent Thefts

League 42
File photo

The League 42 youth baseball organization in Wichita is holding an equipment drive Saturday to recoup supplies lost in recent burglaries.

League executive director and founder Bob Lutz says thieves stole about 200 baseball bats, sound equipment and athletic bags from a storage facility on East 17th Street in the past few weeks.

He says it is a tough loss to face just weeks before the start of practices for the new season.

“One of the things we do is that we supply the equipment to our kids, and that’s something we take great pride in,” Lutz says.

League 42 is a nonprofit that offers a low-cost baseball league for kids ages 5-14. About 600 players are signed up for the upcoming season.

Lutz says once word of the thefts spread, businesses, corporations and individuals reached out to help.

“What we’re realizing — and we already knew — is that there are certainly more good people that believe in League 42 than there are bad people who want to take from League 42,” Lutz says.

"People can drop off baseball equipment. If they want to make cash donations, they can do it at that time. Besides bats, we also have an annual need for baseball helmets, catcher’s gear and gloves."

He says this is the first time in the league’s six-year history that its facilities faced break-ins and thefts. The league is based at McAdams Park in Wichita.

“We’re looking forward to a good response on Saturday at McAdams, and we are definitely thankful for the support of the community,” Lutz says.

The equipment donation drive runs from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday at the McAdams Park Rec Center. Opening day is set for mid-April.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.