Donations pour in to repair damage to Little League clubhouse caused by vandals
MANCHESTER — Bedford Little League officials say generous donations from businesses and sports organizations have helped them raise more than half the funds needed to repair damage caused to a league clubhouse by vandals last weekend.
A clubhouse/concession stand at Blake Marston Field, 11 Nashua Road in Bedford, was broken into last Friday night and damaged by vandals, causing approximately $5,000 in damage, according to Bedford Little League President Jeremy Hinton.
During a ceremony last night at Marston Field, New Hampshire native Chris Carpenter, a two-time World Series champion and Cy Young Award-winning pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals, presented Hinton with a $500 check on behalf of Primary Bank. During the ceremony, Hinton announced the Bedford Friends of Recreation, the Manchester Monarchs, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and Elliot Health Systems will also be making donations to help cover the cost of repairs.
“Bedford Little League has brought so much spirit to our town and we’re pleased to play a small part in making sure that continues,” said Bill Stone, president and CEO of Primary Bank. “To us, lending a hand is what it means to be a member of this community.”
The field, named in memory of fallen Navy SEAL Blake Marston, is the home field of the Bedford Little League 11-12 year old state championship team, which played in the Little League New England Regional Tournament in Bristol, Conn., over the summer and finished one win away from advancing to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
In June, Bedford Little League unveiled a new scoreboard at the field in honor of Marston, 31, who died in January during a training accident in Florida. In 1995, Marston was a member of the Bedford championship team.
Overnight on Friday, vandals sprayed vulgar language on the exterior of the concession stand, then ripped off shutters to a window to get inside the building, where they sprayed a fire extinguisher over the interior of the building and defecated in a cooler.
Hinton said the support Bedford Little League has received since word of the vandalism was published has been “humbling.”
“The support has been inspiring,” said Hinton. “We didn’t even have to ask. The number of people that have stepped up to the plate and asked how they could help has been amazing. It’s a nice feeling to know that we’re part of a state that doesn’t want to put up with this type of thing.”
Primary Bank chairman Bill Greiner, who serves as president of the Bedford Friends of Recreation, said he was at a board meeting when he heard about the vandalism.
“Right away I said Primary would jump in and donate, and I turned to my fellow board members and asked them if they wanted to match the $500 donation,” Greiner said. “They said no, why don’t we donate $1,000. So right away we were at $1,500. It’s a sad thing that happened, but you deal with it and move forward, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Elliot Health Systems CEO Jim Woodward said he has committed to donating.
“Bedford Little League officials said they are filing a claim with their insurance company,” said Woodward. “I told them if the claim was denied or they would not cover the full amount of the repairs, EHS would pay it or cover the difference. If they pay the whole thing, we will make a donation for 50 percent of the amount of the repairs in recognition of the good work they are doing for the kids and in memory of Blake Marston.”
In addition to their team donations, the Fisher Cats brought mascot Fungo to last night’s ceremony, while the Monarchs were represented by players Zac Larraza, Derek Arnold and Alex Roach, along with mascot “Max,” who took on some of the Little Leaguers in a game of football.
No arrests have been made in connection with the vandalism. Anyone with information is asked to call Bedford police at 472-5113.