The Crowfield Little League season is in full swing, now that the nonprofit has paid its $5,800 property tax bill.
Between registration fees and a little help from corporate friends, the league managed to avoid shutting down over one of the strangest property tax disputes in Berkeley County.
But now its bank account is empty, it needs new fences and an irrigation system, and, of course, this year's tax bill looms.
On top of that, someone broke into a concession stand and stole a lot of food that helps pay the bills.
"We've just taken a beating," said Steve Ulery, a parent of one of the league's players.
This Sunday, Velocity Powersports is holding a benefit motorcycle ride to help raise money for the league.
"We were looking for a local charity to help, and they are right around the corner from us," said Velocity office manager Diane Baez. "My daughter played there for a long time. It was her idea."
The league is certainly appreciative. Crowfield parents started the league in the early 1990s -- Berkeley County wasn't providing their children recreation facilities -- when local busibusinessman Steve Vaughn offered them use of 14 acres he owns off College Park Road. All the league had to do, Vaughn said, was pay the property taxes on the land. At the time, that amounted to about $350 a year.
When county officials surveying for a reassessment found the ballpark, they rezoned it commercial. The tax bill jumped to $1,916 and has been going up ever since. The most recent bill was in excess of $5,800.
County officials say they are bound by the law -- it is private property under a rental agreement. Despite constant protests from parents, the tax bill has not budged.
This year, local businesses like McDonald's and Wasabi of Summerville chipped in to keep the bats cracking, but there is always another bill just a few months away. Velocity Powersports plans a series of fundraisers to keep the league running.
"We're hoping to raise as much as we can," Baez said. "We're looking to make an impact on the community."
Ulery said the league hopes this can become an annual event, because there is no shortage of kids looking to play baseball. "A motorcycle rally to help pay taxes for a baseball league -- who would have thought it?" Ulery said. "Of course we need it. The tax bill is probably going to go up."
Reach Brian Hicks at 937-5561 or email@example.com.