After discovering that their equipment had been stolen last week, Louie Terrazas and the rest of the West Long Beach Little League were crestfallen. It was the second time they’d endured a theft this year.

Terrazas, the league’s president, started a GoFundMe campaign Monday in the hopes of replacing the stolen items. The campaign had raised only $175 of the $5,000 goal by the end of its first day.

But after numerous stories from local and regional news outlets this week, the campaign exploded and the donations started pouring in.

“At first it was a West Long Beach thing, then it became a Long Beach thing and then it became bigger,” Terrazas said of the avalanche of support the league has received.

By Wednesday night, the fundraiser had surpassed its goal, reaching over $5,800. But it didn’t stop there.

As of 1 p.m. Friday, nearly $10,800 has been donated to West Long Beach Little League, including $250 from California Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal, who said he was “proud” of the community for rallying behind the league.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with West Long Beach Little League,” Lowenthal said in an email. “Communities are defined by their support of kids’ activities in bad times, not just in good.”

Though its redemption arc did not begin until this week, a saga of loss for West Long Beach baseball lovers began several months ago when a storage facility at Hudson Park was broken into. The league’s Polaris Trail Boss 330 all-terrain vehicle, used to smooth the field after play and worth at least $2,000, was stolen.

West Long Beach Little League equipment was recently stolen from its Silverado Park facility. Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Terrazas was not president of the league at the time of the first theft. But a couple of months into his tenure, the league suffered a second theft, this time at Silverado Park. Thieves made off with a $1,000 pitching machine and a set of bases.

The loss of so much equipment over the span of months was a huge blow to the league, but Terrazas said the community’s response has him feeling less stressed and more secure about the league’s future.

“I’m getting nonstop messages,” he said, including one person who said they are donating a large metal storage container for Silverado, which should be more secure than the current storage space.

“I’m very grateful and appreciate the support from everybody,” Terrazas added.

Having far exceeded his goal, Terrazas is making plans for what to spend the extra cash on. After replacing what was stolen—including an extra set of bases and a second pitching machine for the league’s younger divisions—he said his first priority is to get a security system, including cameras.

While some public parks in Long Beach are equipped with taxpayer-funded security cameras, neither Silverado nor Hudson are, according to Lea Eriksen, director of the city’s Technology and Innovation Department. Any addition of city-owned cameras to those locations would be subject to funding and input from the Long Beach Police Department, Public Works, and Parks, Recreation and Marine, she added.

Any funding Terrazas has left over will be used for other league expenses, he said, including umpire fees, line chalk, baseballs, trophies and even a reserve fund for any future emergencies.

“I don’t think West Long Beach has ever felt the love that it’s getting right now,” Terrazas said. “We’re feeling like people do care and are obviously going to have our back, especially when it’s something as horrible as stealing from little kids.

“And if something ever happened to any of these other leagues, West Long Beach will always be there for them.”

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.