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Thousands of dollars and gear stolen from local club softball team

Published: Apr. 3, 2021 at 7:53 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Lady Royals 18U softball team is working to raise thousands of dollars before the club season starts this summer. Mulvane police is investigating as the coach reported someone broke into his house, stealing equipment and nearly $10,000 the team raised for travel and tournaments.

The Lady Royals have been preparing for the most important summer of softball for the team yet.

“There’s three seniors and we’re all looking for scholarships and more ways to find another way to college,” senior Brooklyn Jones said.

But no amount of practice could’ve prepared them for the curve ball life threw at them last week.

“I had my house burglarized,” Head Coach Erin Leonard said. “They took over $9,000. Some of it was facility fees and a majority of it was money that families have raised and paid for their team fees and fundraisers.”

Leonard said he used to keep the money in the bank, but after being a victim to more than a thousand dollars in fraud a few years ago, he started keeping the team’s fund at home.

The players said it’s a devastating loss.

“I worked my tail off and fundraised close to $2,000 of this,” sophomore Veronica James said, who goes to Conway Springs and doesn’t have the option of playing softball for her high school, as they don’t have a team.

“It’s more irritating due to the fact that my mom is a single parent and I have raised all the money on my own,” Jones said. “I work two jobs just to be able to play softball.”

More than just the money lost could be the opportunity to play at the next level. Without the funds, the team says it won’t be able to afford to travel to bigger tournaments.

“They are trying to go to college and play college ball and so the tournaments we go to are out of town and are bigger tournaments to try to get exposure for college and get them in front of college coaches they would like to play for,” Leonard said.

Even though the Lady Royals took a hit, they’ll keep swinging. They’re already busy fundraising again, hopeful to save their season.

“I think we are a very strong team together and that we will get the money back,” James said. “Nothing is going to stop us from playing this summer.”

The team said it’s grateful for the support it has received so far from the community, including the coach of the Salina Tigers club softball team who donated jerseys.

If you would like to help the team, you can donate to the go fund me here.

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