The Texas Rangers and three players have struck a grand slam for an Arlington little league team whose season was ruined because someone close to the organization allegedly stole $20,000.
Police say Claudia Castillo, 34, stole the money from the Southeast Arlington Little League from October 2012 through September 2013. She allegedly spent the money on living expenses.
Tammy Wilson, a Southeast Arlington Little League member, says when board members would question the missing money, Castillo would always offer up quick excuses.
When they finally dug into the finances, they discovered the theft. They set a meeting with Castillo, but her husband showed up and told board members his wife took the money. Then, the board called police.
The lost money would have covered all the league's operating costs for the year. So Wilson and other parents had to tell their kids the baseball season was over.
The Texas Rangers heard about the story and called within hours to help.
On Monday while the little leaguers were at practice, parents picked up free tickets to Wednesday's Rangers game against the Houston Astros.
Infielder Elvis Andrus and pitchers Derek Holland and Joe Nathan collectively donated $20,000 to cover the organizations losses.
"We're an organization here in little league, and for them to take notice and feel their emotion that we can't allow these kids not to be able to play baseball, it says everything," said Lucas Larson, the New President of Southeast Arlington Little League.
"Growing up, I couldn't imagine not having a place to or an organization to play for," said Joe Nathan.
Tammy Wilson is the organization's vice president who worked alongside Castillo on the board for two years. "We all were in this for the kids, and to think that someone I considered a friend did this to the kids, it's just heartbreaking," said Wilson.
Now the parents and little leaguers have something to cheer about thanks to the generosity of the Texas Rangers.
The fall season normally has 150 players between the ages of four and fifteen.
Even with the new money, most players had already switched to other leagues. Come March, they will get to reunite in the Southeast Arlington Little League.
Most of the money will go towards unpaid bills leftover from last spring. The donated money will allow the league to start in the spring with no financial burden.
KDFW FOX 4
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