Last updated: February 16. 2013 8:28PM - 464 Views

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After a number of donations, starting with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees?? $4,000 fundraiser, Plains Little League continues to stay afloat.

??The money that came in from the Yankee event and people in the community who were so kind and so generous helped us to keep going through the end of the year and pay bills,? said Scott Gartley, vice president of Plains Little League.

After an alleged case of arson damaged Plains?? press box and concession stand in June, the Yankees planned the Little League Takeover, which earned it a Golden Bobblehead nomination.

??What I was really proud of is how everybody in our organization and in the Plains Little League organization came together in such a short time period, took the tragedy and flipped it to make it into something really positive for the community,? said Ryan Beardsley, community relations and Play Ball! manager.

Gartley not only appreciated the money, but also the impact the event had on the people involved.

??It was just very humbling and overwhelming what they did at the field when they came down,? Gartley said. ??The way they ran the event the kids just enjoyed it tremendously.?

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees?? event highlighted a myriad of contributions from the community.

??So many individuals from Plains and surrounding communities sent checks in anywhere from $500 to $10, but just the fact that they did it was incredible,? Gartley said. ??Also the other Little Leagues in the area in Districts 16 and 31 have been incredibly generous in sending donations to the league to try to help us out.?

Plains received approximately $30,000 in donations from the community, including businesses such as Dominic??s Cafe, Hun??s West Side Cafe and Sheehans Pharmacy.

??We set up a separate account, and we??re using that for things that are related to the fire,? Gartley said.

The donations also helped Plains Little League with the profit it lost during the baseball season.

??The money that was raised has been terrific because we weren??t operating with a stand toward the end of the season and during the all-star weeks, which is a time when you generate a lot of revenue,? Gartley said. ??We ultimately because of donations were able to run a makeshift stand.?

Plains Little League also received help from Mericle Construction.

??Mericle Construction got in contact with the league right away and they donated the labor and material to remediate a great deal of the fire damage,? Gartley said. ??They got the stand in terrific shape for us.?

The insurance company estimated the fire did about $40,000 worth of damage.

??That doesn??t include the electrical part of it as well as the contents including the refrigerators and the fryers and the sound system and channels for the scoreboard,? Gartley said. ??It??s incomplete, but we know it??s going to far exceed $40,000, I would imagine.?

Despite the damage, Plains Little League will have a fall baseball league comprised of a minor, major and two teener baseball teams.

??The biggest thing we??ve been trying to do as the board and the officers of the league is to try and minimize to the greatest extent possible the impact on the boys and girls who play baseball and softball in Plains,? Gartley said. ??Because of the generosity of the individuals and businesses I think in large part we??ve been able to do that.?

Plains Little League will also look to make upgrades to its field.

??One of the light posts is on a wooden pole and they??re out of code now,? Gartley said. ??When you do them they have to be on metal poles so we??re looking into the cost of replacing that because we??ve had the electrical damage.?

Plains Little League also has to repair its restrooms because of the fire so Gartley said the organization plans to make them handicap accessible.

??We wanted to try to make them wheelchair accessible because we hosted a challenger baseball game at the field maybe four or five years ago,? Gartley said. ??The kids loved it so we wanted to try to get the field into a position where we could do more of that.?

Despite the issues that still remain, Gartley is optimistic about Plains Little League??s future.

??I??m confident because of the generosity of people that we??ll recover from this,? Gartley said.

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