May 14, 2015 9:19 AM
Two weeks ago we brought you the story of Mathew Waszeciak, a Little Leaguer who was sidelined due to redistricting issues.
“We were a little frightened at first. It wasn’t a very clean environment—safe environment. We found some needles and stuff around the area,” Mathew’s mother, Kim Waszeciak, said.
11-year-old Ralph Waterman and his mother Kim Ostlund were so inspired by the Waszeciak’s willingness to speak out, and disappointed by the lack of response from the Little League, they came forward, hoping to drive change.
For Ralph, baseball is everything.
“I like pitching, catching, throwing and … winning,” Ralph said.
So, it’s surprising that after five years of Little League and three weeks into the 2015 season, Ralph quit Manchester Central.
“The whole league is not fair right now,” Ralph said.
Not fair - he said - because there are only enough kids to fill two teams at his level.
“You know what’s going to happen," he said. "There are better players on the other team. We’re going to get crushed every game. I didn’t want to spend all of my summer losing."
Mom didn’t want to spend the summer worrying about what’s around the field.
“There’s a lot of broken glass that’s … not safe," she said. "I actually call it toxic. It feels like it’s toxic.”
Kimberly Ostlund’s also worried about what’s happening in the area.
The NH1 Crime Tracker Reports for 2015 within 1 mile of Manchester Central fields:
There are also 118 registered sex offenders in that same area.
Waszeciak said these stats are a clear sign that the “Sally Dreckman Field of Dreams” is … “Everyone else’s nightmare.”
Parents - including Chantel Gurley - also warn that discarded drug needles can be found near the fields. She knows, because she’s a recovering heroin addict.
“I can see an orange cap from ten feet away, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a needle,’ ” Gurley said.
As we tour the grounds, she points out other potential hazards.
“Like that bag? That’s probably drugs,” Gurley said.
Gurley said she won’t bring her two children to the playground right next to the fields and fears for the safety of the young baseball players, like Ralph.
“Children didn’t ask not to be able to play baseball because there are dirty needles and irresponsible people."
Manchester Central Little League is managed locally by Sally Dreckmann.
Dreckmann has refused to comment.
Email Céline McArthur at email@example.com if you have more information pertaining to our Little League Lockdown investigation or another story you think needs to be investigated. Follow Céline on Twitter @McArthurNH1.
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