Church league plays ball after equipment theft


At North Park Baptist Church in northeast Harris County, Saturdays are about baseball.

Every Saturday, 400 kids -- ages 4 to 13, both members and non-members -- play on the fields in the church's baseball league.

The children, their families and volunteers use the three fields each Saturday for fun, sport and prayer.

"There's nothing like being out here with the parents and getting involved with the kids and rooting for both sides," grandmother Betty Holland said.

But this week, there's an extra someone in those prayers. And it's not a ball player or a proud parent.

Their prayers are for a thief who broke into the two storage sheds and stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment from the league, including four-wheelers, lawn equipment and everything else down to baseballs.

"It's a loss. It's a big loss for us," volunteer Don Crutcher said.

It was a commandment-breaking act that has some in disbelief.

"There's not much you can say about it," volunteer Charles Hamm said. "Some people just do things that aren't wise and shouldn't happen."

Holland doesn't understand the crime either.

"Why steal from kids? Why steal from kids? But you know what? It's not going to stop [the children]. It's not going to stop them," she said. "They'll keep going if they have to go borrow equipment."

They told us Wednesday when they first discovered the theft that it wouldn't stop the games, and it hasn't.

Families and volunteers tell us they will replace the stolen goods one piece at a time.

"We'll keep the games going and we'll keep moving along," Hamm said. "Do whatever we have to do."

They'll keep playing and praying for that someone who they say should've known better.

"This is a ministry. This is a church," Hamm said. "It happens every day, but God forgives."

The church pastor believes the thief is someone familiar with the league, but there are no suspects so far.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office is investigating. Anyone with information can call authorities.

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