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Youth baseball league still $16,500 short after arson

February 28, 2001

Youth baseball league still $16,500 short after arson



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -Today marks the last day that youngsters can sign up to play baseball in the South Hamilton Youth League in the coming season.

Sign-up takes place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the league's building at 892 Warm Springs Road.

The building was nearly destroyed in a deliberately set $100,000 fire in November 2000, along with all of the league's baseball equipment and uniforms.

Last year more than 150 youngsters ages 5 to 16 years played baseball in the league on 13 teams in six age groups, said Jim Buhrman, league president.

The league belongs to the Chambersburg Suburban League, which fields teams in many of Franklin County's smaller towns and villages, Buhrman said. The teams play each other, he said.

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Buhrman said the league came up about $42,000 short after the insurance company paid its share of the cost of rebuilding the structure and replacing the lost baseball equipment.

He said the Hamilton Township Supervisors donated $13,500 and local fund-raisers brought in another $12,000. That leaves the league about $16,500 short of the total needed to cover all of the fire losses.

Buhrman said he's confident enough local donations will come in to make up the difference in time for the start of the league's baseball season April 23.

Pennsylvania State Police said at the time of the fire that vandals broke into the building by throwing a cement block through a window during the night of Nov. 16. They made off with food and soda and set the place on fire.

The fire, which was investigated by the state fire marshal's office, destroyed most of the building, some of its kitchen equipment and all of the baseball equipment.

Among the items lost were more than 100 baseball bats, balls, catcher's gear and other equipment used by the league, including a brand new, still-in-the-box pitching machine, Buhrman said at the time of the fire.

The building is owned by the South Hamilton Community Association. Its use is shared by the South Hamilton Ruritan Club and the youth league. A 300-seat pavilion in front of the building was completed in 1998.

The building is named after Robert "Bob" Carter, a Hamilton Township resident and major league baseball scout for the Kansas City Royals.

Carter was born in Hagerstown and graduated from Chambersburg, Pa., High School in 1951. He died in 1997.

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