LUMBERTON — Paul Hodges has seen a little bit of everything over the last two decades as Lumberton High’s baseball coach.
Tuesday wasn’t one of his best days.
“You try do some nice things out here and something like this always seems to happen,” Hodges said. “It’s really frustrating and seems to never end.”
Lumberton’s recently renovated baseball facility at Finley Read Field was defaced during school hours Tuesday as vandals broke a door to the equipment room, stole a can of spray paint and defaced the home dugout on every wall.
Photos released by Hodges on social media revealed maroon brick painted white with profanity, gang-related marks and sexual innuendos.
Lumberton officials are looking into the situation.
“We’ve got a couple leads, but I doubt it’ll pan out unless someone squeals,” said Lumberton athletic director Mackie Register said. “We’ve got a camera out there and we’re watching the tape. We’re going to have to repaint the brick and fix the door, but thankfully a lot of the field paint will rub off.”
Hodges believes the event took place during fourth period. He says this is the fifth straight offseason he’s had to deal with vandalism at his baseball facility.
“I’m almost 100 percent sure it was done by students who were cutting class,” Hodges said. “We had half a can of paint we use for touching up the bases there on the shelf in the equipment room. They got it and used it.”
After school Tuesday, Hodges noticed fresh “ball lines” in the infield and outfield following the morning rain.
The vandals had taken batting practice then shelter in the dugout.
“They got on the field and hit a bucket of balls too,” Hodges said. “It took about 45 minutes for me to pick them all up. It’s absurd. Hopefully, we can catch the students heading to the buses next time something like this happens.”
Public Schools of Robeson County has not yet been notified of the situation. For any information involving the culprits, contact Lumberton’s athletic department.
Reach staff writer Brad Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MrPalmettoSDS.