Little league baseball equipment torched in Latrobe

LATROBE, Pa. — A fire that torched a shed and all the baseball equipment of the Latrobe Little League group was intentionally set, police said.

“It’s terrible. I mean, I got so angry I got tears in my eyes, I am right now ... why would you do this to our kids?,” John Russo, president of the Latrobe Little League, said.

What makes this so disheartening is that just as the league was starting, they lost everything they needed to start the season.

“We had a portable pitching mound. Those aren’t cheap, they’re expensive. We had 2 L-screens in there, we had pillow bags for soaking up the field, (the) bases themselves,” Russo said.

What was left of the shed was cleaned up Monday, hours after police say someone set it on fire, destroying everything inside and causing about $8,000 worth of damage.

“I have no idea what people are thinking, because obviously, after researching and talking to the fire chief, we did find lighter fluid when we folded up and took away the burnt shed, " Craig Shevchik, Latrobe parks and recreation director, said. “The shed, again, was just donated last year, brand-new shed, was sitting here so it was closer to the field for them to do field prep.”

An anonymous donor offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to a suspect.

Insurance won’t cover what was lost, but the league says with the community’s help and outpouring of support, they’re confident they’ll be able to play ball in the next couple weeks.

“It’s a good thing we pushed the season out a month and decided to hold off, because now we’ve got time, and I’ve had a number of businesses call up and offer,” Russo said. “I don’t even have the words to describe it, it’s obviously very disappointing, not only are we on limited funds, but Latrobe Little League, going thru this pandemic we’re trying to give people things to do, it’s very unfortunate.”

The league is collecting donations. Those wishing to donate can send them to Latrobe Little League, P.O. Box 202, Latrobe, PA 15650.