CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - More than 100 little league baseball players have worked all year to get to Chesterfield County and as play gets underway, they're not about to let recent crime at county parks ruin their World Series tournament.
The fields at Iron Bridge Park are packed. Players from as far as Mexico and California are here to play ball.
After shootings, an armed robbery and racial graffiti tagging appeared at Chesterfield parks earlier this month, everyone here is playing it safe.
With teams from as far as Mexico, the Pony League Baseball World Series is underway. The Bad Boyz from Texas didn't come here to go home empty handed.
"This has been our goal all year long... is to make it to Chesterfield, VA," said Chris Gracias, who came from Texas for the tournament. "We're ready to play baseball."
Chris Gracias was surprised to hear about Chesterfield's recent crime at parks. While players focus on winning, his coaching staff works to keep everyone safe.
"The youth association here in Virginia has been helping us out with bus trips and bus rides. I mean, you know, we're safe. We're happy," he said.
Jim Ramsey watched his son compete in the home run derby.
"Go CBC! We're at the World Series! Whoo!," he shouted.
Last week, he was fired up for a different reason. He was at Rockwood Park when a fight broke out, and a teen was shot. His now has his eyes peeled for trouble.
"I think the parents themselves keep an eye out and call. You know you see something suspect and you make a phone call," Ramsey said.
Tournament organizers are taking safety a step further by hiring an off-duty officer to watch the fields overnight.
"Chesterfield has got what, 400 or 500 of the finest around? The Courthouse is right next door. We're not worried about anything," said Blake Eller with Chesterfield Baseball Clubs.