ASHLAND, Pa. — The crack of the bat is a welcome sound at Ashland's Little League baseball fields off North 17th Street, but the crack of fireworks has given the league a headache.
Police said the property owner found fireworks shells and debris scattered across the auxiliary field's infield Monday morning. Ash and residue are still clearly visible out at shortstop.
Ashland Police Chief Gerard Daley said setting off fireworks here is illegal.
"Nowhere in most towns in this county are you going to be able to light a firework off because you're going to be either on private property or you're in the distance of the residences," Daley said.
In this case, it's both. Police said the fireworks could have posed a threat to the row of homes just across the street, and no one in the community had permission to be on the field this Fourth of July.
"Lighting fireworks or not, you can't just come up here and start running around the field thinking it's free and open to anybody that wants to," Daley said.
League members said they captured the incident on some of their security cameras; footage police want to review.
Whoever was responsible left plenty of evidence behind. Empty fireworks boxes were found sitting on the bench in the home dugout, and league members hope they won't be seeing the field ever again.
Daley told Newswatch 16 fireworks were set off at the same location last year, but this time there were many more. He said Little League means a lot to the community, and it's frustrating to see this happen again.
"These guys are up here all the time maintaining these fields for games and practices and different things like that, and it's a shame," Daley said. "Now he's going to have to come up here and not only cut the grass and maintain the field, now he's got to clean all this mess up that somebody decided to leave here."
Daley is thankful no one got hurt, but he's reminding the community about how dangerous these displays can be.
"People just have to watch and be cautious with these fireworks," he said. "Very easily, one of them could fly over onto one of these houses or into these woods, and then we're going to just have a big mess on our hands, more than the mess that they already have to clean up."
Anyone with information is asked to call Ashland Police Department.