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Townspeople build awesome batting cage for prep baseball team, town destroys it

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally

If you build it, they will come ... and tear it down. That's the message the Sacramento City Unified School District just sent to a group of well-meaning prep baseball enthusiasts.

Players, parents and supporters of Sacramento's McClatchy High prep baseball team spent four years raising $20,000 to build what turned out early last year to be a rather impressive batting cage for a school that doesn't have its own baseball field for practices, according to reports from both the Sacramento Bee and CBS13.

The Lions reportedly used the cage for a year and a half, compiling a 16-10 record and a stellar .300 team batting average this past spring, without incident. Then, one August day -- unbeknownst to McClatchy's coach, athletic director and principal -- a demolition crew destroyed it on the SCUSD's orders. All coach Mike de Necochea salvaged was a net.

The SCUSD claimed the structure wasn't compliant with building codes and the Americans with Disabilities Act. “Ultimately, our school board is liable if something bad happens, God forbid,” SCUSD spokesman Gabe Ross told the Sacramento Bee.

While Ross claimed that school officials knew of the district's plan to deconstruct the batting cage back in May, neither principal Peter Lambert nor DeNecochea learned of the issue until the demolition crew arrived, the Bee said.

"It’s always a huge hit," McClatchy AD Rob Feickert told CBS 13, "especially the fact that the parents getting together, and raising their own money."

McClatchy's since retired principal reportedly signed off on the project, and former Lions baseball coach Bernie Church told the Bee he built the old batting cage the same way -- with players, parents and boosters -- three decades ago.

Not to be deterred, though, the same parents who helped raise the $20,000 are already back at it, CBS13 said, as they're trying to raise enough money to build a sound structure (approved by the city, of course) in time for the baseball season in late February.

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