Thousands of dollars' worth of baseball equipment was stolen from a Tulsa high school locker room. The coach said it couldn't have happened at a worse time.
The team is two weeks away from playoffs; it's when the coach said his players are being judged the hardest. Instead of focusing on playoffs, they're having to break-in new gloves and cleats, which takes some time.
But despite the obstacles, the team must play ball.
With the ping of the bat, things are feeling a little more normal for the Tulsa Memorial Baseball team.
"Right now it's just about keeping the kids' spirits up and making sure this doesn't happen again," said Coach Steven Irvine.
The players were thrown a curve ball Monday, not on the field, but in the locker room. When they showed up for practice, their gear had been ransacked.
"They knew what they were looking for," Irvine said.
He said the thieves went for straight for the valuables, taking baseball bats, gloves, cleats and sunglasses, a total loss of about $5,000.
"Anger. Angry, yeah," Irvine said. "Then as it turned, it started to get sad."
The heartache, Irvine said, came because none of the stolen equipment belonged to the school, but to the players personally.
Players like Kyle Considine, who worked summer jobs to earn enough money to buy his pricey gear. Kyle's cleats and bat were taken, together worth close to $400.
"Some people just want to take it, they don't want to work hard, but that's life," Considine said.
It's a tough lesson, but one that's showing them they have teammates on and off the diamond.
"Feels just awesome to have the support of the community and to know that people care and aren't just gonna let something like this go by," Irvine said.
He said the boys are on the field now because donors have stepped up the plate, making sure each athlete has what he need to play, because they already have the attitudes of champions.
"I don't think this is gonna hold us back, I mean, if we have a $10 mitt, we'll still play and we're gonna find a way," Considine said.
The coach was hoping surveillance video might have caught the crooks in action, but TPS Campus police said they've had no such luck.