BC’s Little League loses decades worth of memories

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

For over 30 years, Bennett’s Creek little league players and coaches have been scoring runs, throwing strikes, winning championships, and making their city proud. Now ashes and memories are all they have to show for their accomplishments.

At 1:15 p.m. Monday, a fire started in the league’s concession stand at Driver Elementary School. After sweeping through the downstairs stand, the fire, spurred on by airtight surroundings, swept upstairs, where decades worth of district championship banners and trophies were stored. By the time the fire was under control, dozens of banners had been reduced to ash, and the walls and ceilings were singed through. At press time, the fire’s origin was unknown.

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The fire was estimated to have caused roughly $15,000 of damage. Because the league’s insurance only covers arson, which was ruled out, league president Laura Eure and the rest of the Bennett’s Creek community are left to start all over.

&uot;As soon as my husband told me how bad it was, especially about the championship banners, my heart just sank,&uot; said Eure. &uot;I cried the whole way over there, and when I saw it for myself, it was even worse. But to hear the encouragement from everybody, the board members, saying ‘We can get over it, we can get past this.’ Everybody was so positive about getting it back in order.

&uot;Every time I think about those banners, it just tears me up. The numbers we had up there are countless. We can re-order them, but it won’t be the same.&uot;

Director of Auxiliary Programs Kathy Dykes an employee at the Townebank Churchland branch, was one of the first to come up with a manner of raising the necessary repair funds.

&uot;The little league doesn’t have any money, so I asked the bank if we could open an account to hold donation money,&uot; Dykes said. &uot;Townebank has always helped us out a lot, and they said it would be no problem. We’re asking for donations to get the stand and upstairs room redone.&uot; To help, contact Dykes at 638-7500 or send donations to Townebank, 5716 High Street West, Portsmouth, Va, 23703. Those interested can also contact Eure at 686-2692.

Now the only thing left to do is to rebuild. Rebuild the stand. Rebuild the dynasty. Rebuild the mountains of memories that will live on only in the minds of the Bennett’s Creek parents and players.

&uot;You certainly don’t expect to think, ‘Well, let me take one last look at the concession stand, because it’s not going to be there next time,’&uot; said Alex Butler, whose daughter Erica Maynard played on the All-Star team that won the District 6 junior softball title in July. &uot;You take it for granted. When I worked at the stand, we were always careful about checking behind everywhere to make sure that everything was clean and that everything was turned off that needed to be turned off. It just breaks my heart to know that all their banners and accomplishments are gone.&uot;

Blake Eure and Josh Barringer played for the 9-10 baseball All-Star District 6 championship teams last season. &uot;I’m really upset, because now we have to build it all over again,&uot; Blake said. &uot;Everything was upstairs for so long, and now it’s all gone.&uot;

Barringer, 10, has a few more years to help the league replace a few of the lost championship banners. &uot;I was shocked, because I didn’t think something like this could happen,&uot; he said. &uot;I can’t believe that the banners are gone, but I know that we have a strong organization and that we can win the district for a couple more years.&uot;