LEWISTOWN — The Lewistown Redbirds American Legion baseball team went through their normal practice routine on April 18 and went home afterwards with no clue what they would find the next day.
A team member drove by Ryan Sparks Field on Wednesday and discovered that twenty inches of heavy snow was too much for the batting cages to handle as the poles were puled out from the concrete.
“We just had a huge snowstorm come in, a little bit worse than expected,” said Redbirds coach Scott Sparks. “Unfortunately the system we have in our cages doesn’t allow us to drop the nets. We had a great practice Tuesday night and by Wednesday night we’re getting pictures of a devastation at the ball park.”
The new cage systems were about three years old and the organization raised money to have them built. Not only were the newer cages destroyed, but the visitor batting cages caught the worst of it as well. One of the metal poles bent to almost a ninety degree angle while the other side had been completely pulled out of the concrete.
“Just to see the damage to it, it’s really disheartening. There was a lot of people who worked really hard to come up with this,” said Sparks. “When you fund raise your entire program, you do things as you have funds. We had funds to do a nice project there and just to see it destroyed …and also to see that our visitors cage suffered some damage, as well as our movable cage … it’s just a little setback.”
The Lewistown community has been supportive in getting the funding to rebuild the batting cages. The program recently had one of their usual fundraiser dinners that has proven to be one of their bigger events, and longtime supporters made it clear that they wanted to do whatever it takes to get things back up and running.
The program is hoping to have the cages back up and available by June.