Utah youth baseball team out 10K after twister destroys tournament field

Utah youth baseball team out 10K after twister destroys tournament field (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) The Pleasant Grove 12-U Vikings baseball team was supposed to be heading to Nebraska for a national tournament. Playing doesn’t come cheap, says the team’s coach, Ryan Bonnett.

"The overall expense for the team was $10,300."

Just days before the event, the ballpark, World Baseball Village, was hit by a tornado. The damage meant no games could be played.

"Man, I had parents calling me, ‘Is this for real? My kid’s crying. They're really losing it,’” Bonnett said. “This was a big deal."

Bonnett says he was initially told by World Baseball Village the kids would get back most of the money they raised for the trip.

"We're probably going to be able to give you up to 80% of your money back,” Bonnett says he was told.

But two months later, they haven't seen a dime and now, Bonnett says he can't get answers.

“Something should be given back to these boys,” he said. “Their money should be given back."

There was no tournament, so where is the money? In an email sent to tournament teams two weeks ago, the company says it paid "$250,000" to the city of Bellevue to "lease" the field. The email claims the city won't give the money back so WBV can’t afford to offer any refunds.

But Bellevue's city attorney told Get Gephardt they want to negotiate with WBV, not only on the tournament money but also on repairing the fields and cutting the company a break so they can keep the tournament going for years to come. Bellevue’s city attorney says the baseball company has been unresponsive.

WBV did not respond to Get Gephardt’s requests for comment. Its website appears to be shut down.

Bonnett and his guys are left with little more than disappointment and a lesson learned young that life can be unfair.

"We're teaching these boys how to be good young men, how to be responsible, how to work hard toward your goals," he said. “The hard pill to swallow for us, and the message to these boys, is that adults are not acting the same way."

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