As construction on a new batting cage neared the proverbial home plate, an unexpected play halted proceedings.
The Salmon Arm Minor Baseball Association (SAMBA) was using a plate compactor, a machine used to pack dirt, at Klahani Park.
It was one of the final steps in the construction of the new batting cage.
Then, on the evening of June 27 or the day of June 28, it was stolen, said Kristal Burgess, the association’s sponsorship manager.
The machine was chained and locked up out of sight, said Burgess. Since SAMBA was being lent the machine, it wouldn’t have been feasible for the company lending it to come and pick it up and drop it off again each time it needed to be used.
She said it was really disheartening someone would steal equipment from a volunteer organization for youth sports.
“It really knocked the wind out of the sails of volunteers who have been giving up their weekends to build the batting cage.”
The machine was being lent to the association by Warner Rentals, a company Burgess said had generously donated all the machinery needed to construct the association’s batting cage.
“It was a huge expense we didn’t have to cover.”
Unfortunately for SAMBA, replacing the stolen plate compactor would be a huge expense. Burgess said the cost to the association would be $1,792.
SAMBA reported the incident to the Salmon Arm RCMP.
On July 6, Burgess was happy to report police had recovered the stolen plate compactor.
Now that SAMBA has the compactor back, volunteers will be using it for the final time on July 8, as well as laying turf.
The batting cage at Klahani Park should be open around the third week of July, Burgess said.