WORCESTER (CBS) – Safety concerns have forced a Little League in Worcester to suspend its season, at least until police provide more patrols around the field.
The Tom Ash Little League has cancelled four games since after gunshots rang out on a nearby street while young players were on the field Wednesday evening.
At least five to seven shots were heard, sending players and their coaches scrambling.
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports
“I heard the pops coming from fifty feet away. I started running to the shack,” said one player who did not want to be identified.
“They were running, ducking, it was pandemonium as we grabbed the players, like something in a movie,” said the league president who also did not want to be identified by name.
But it was all a reality check, and the coaches say the safety of the children is at stake.
The league is meeting on Monday with the Mayor of Worcester and the Chief of Police who has pledged to provide more patrols.
But they want more than a promise.
Last Sunday, just a mile away, players were sent scrambling at Coonan Field when someone ran from the basketball court to the baseball fields armed with a shotgun.
“My head coach turned around and said ‘I see guns, get the kids off the field, guns, guns’,” said Zarrina Stolakis, a coach and the parent of a player who was hesitant about returning to the field.
Parents say only the presence of stepped-up police patrols convinced them it was safe to continue the season.
“She said ‘mommy I’m so scared, I don’t want to go up there’,” said Stolakis.
Worcester police say they’re already planning “impact” patrols in targeted areas of the city for the month of June.
But the Tom Ash Little League hopes to see them sooner, so they can get the season back on track.
“Something bad is going to happen,” said the vice-president of the league.
“We’re lucky it didn’t happen last night, very lucky.”