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Community Comes Through For Rockwall Little League Team After Van, Baseball Equipment Destroyed

ROCKWALL, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Baseball is a game of hits, runs, and errors, but last week it brought a lesson no one expected.

Coach Joel Marlowe's team van was stolen, vandalized, and set on fire, destroying every piece of equipment the ballplayers need.

Rockwall Little League team van destroyed
Rockwall Little League team van destroyed

"There were two sets of catcher's gear, my son's personal bag with his favorite bat, his cleats, his glove. I had a giant nag of helmet," said Marlowe.

"I thought, 'That's terrible. There's a ton of gear in there," said ballplayer Foster Cansler.

And with a game just days away, the assistant coach created a GoFundMe page, hoping to scrape together enough to still play.

"That has turned out to not be a problem in that everyone from everywhere has just been donating things," said Coach Marlowe.

People have donated more than $4,300 and that's not counting donors like business owner Randy Kelley, who sent Coach Marlowe on a shopping spree.

"Whatever those kids need," Kelley said. "That's what it's all about. It's about the kids. They deserve that. They need to have whatever they need."

Marlowe was able to replace the gear - and then some.

"It's been very emotional to watch people meet the need, you know, to the point where I've got an extra now," he said.

"I was very happy and excited. I'm glad that they were replaced because he works hard," said Foster.

Giving the 11-year-old Marlowe Tigers more than just the ability to play ball.

"It's a demonstration of you can either be on that side or on this side. People doing it all wrong or people doing it all right," said Coach Marlowe. "Be the person who's picking people up when they're down."

Dick's Sporting Goods also donated a gift card, and the Texas Rangers reached out to the team.

They invited them to a VIP tour of the new Globe Life Field this weekend.

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