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Little League Fields Calls for Assistance

Recreation: Cash, food and bats are offered by residents toward repair of vandalized facilities.


ENCINO — The calls began coming in early in the morning. And in just a few short hours, the West Valley Little League had received more than 25 offers of cash and assistance to repair its vandalized snack bar and equipment storage facilities.

Following a story in The Times on Tuesday about the damage, San Fernando Valley residents offered gifts ranging from hot dogs to bats to money.

An Encino law firm, Cohen & Steinbrecher, will pay for the bulk of the estimated $2,500 in damage, apparently done by graffiti vandals. Two construction companies will provide labor and material to restore the damaged supply shed. Mark Kaplan, owner of Plast Techs Enterprises in Los Angeles, is ready to deliver seven pallets of coffee, napkins and whatever condiments the league needs to get the hot dog stand back in business.

And a next-door neighbor, herself barely surviving on a monthly Social Security check, dropped by and gave $10.

The donations mean opening day, March 9, will be a lot brighter for coach Joe Bua and the 350 players who use the field near Oxnard and Louise avenues.

"It just totally surprised me," said Bua's wife, Susan, who answered many of the calls. "It has been overwhelming. The word that people have used all day is that they were 'touched' by the story."

Eddie Frierson, a former baseball coach at Santa Monica High School, plans to donate a night's profits from a production of his play on famed pitcher Christy Mathewson at the Two Roads Theatre in Studio City.

"When I saw these people got vandalized, I thought one night from my play would be the perfect benefit," Frierson said.

Terri Blackburn of Sierra Pacific Constructors in Woodland Hills, with help from the Wallen Construction Co., is now awaiting a date and time to send a crew of workers to start repairs. Blackburn said her company's recent financial successes should be shared with others.

"We felt really bad for the Little League association," Blackburn said. "We just wanted to help them out and try to give something back to the community."

Susan Bua, who has two sons in the league and works as its registrar, said some who offered to help didn't have much money.

"Whether it's $5 or $500, it's just really positive and shows that there are still a lot of people out there who care," she said.

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