Coach Kevin Bean, of Eagleton Middle School, is proud of the school's baseball field.
“This is what our boys have, and we do our best to take care of it,” he said.
It’s why what happened last week felt like it came from left field. Bean said the Blount County complex was vandalized – trophies smashed, graffiti painted in the dugout and nails stuck down the baseline.
“We’re hoping to find out who did this and hopefully bring them to justice,” Bean said.
Ashley McMurray’s son plays on the team.
“Why would you do that? I just don’t even understand,” she said.
She was outraged when she saw the vandal's handiwork. But anger became action. She and other parents came together to paint over the graffiti through the weekend, ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled game. Now the dugout has a fresh coat of paint and more positive messages for players – a stark contract from the initials and marijuana depictions.
“No way in heck I was going to let [my son] sit there with that over his head,” said McMurray.
The game was delayed for rain, but Bean is still glad to have the field back ahead of the team's matchup against Alcoa on Friday.
“It speaks volumes about the community, because those parents live in this community,” said Bean.
McMurray said a reward is being offered for information on the culprits. The case is being handled by the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.