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Ball Games Return to Site of Fatal Shooting

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Dandridge, Jefferson County (WVLT) – After taking the week off following the shooting at a Dandridge little league park, the community is trying to come back together and get back on the field.

As WVLT Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb explains, the umpires words of "play ball" were a welcome sound.

Little League ball at the Field of Dreams is back, but it hasn't been easy.

"Turn it back to the Field of Dreams. You know, the old saying build it and they will come. Well, we feel like we're in a rebuilding process right now," league president Greg Manis said.

One week to the day that three people were shot to death and one critically wounded, residents turned out to play ball without apprehension.

"Not at all. This is a great place to be with your family," parent Suzi Masoner said.

"I think this will help them more, the morale. I believe it will help them out more," parent Michael Rhines said.

Officials say only getting back to normal will make things better so they asked teams off today to come.

"Bring your kids out tonight. Bring them. Just let them walk around the park. Show them that everything is fine. That way when they get here on Tuesday to play, they are ready just to play ball," Manis said.

And for the kids, they say they're just ready to play ball.

"Yeah, baseballs my thing so if I hear baseball I'm there," ball player Brandon Leonard said.

"I was scared when it happened, but it's all over now so let's go play ball," ball player Austin Gann said.

Considering the turnout, some feel the rebuilding process is well on it's way.

"I think it shows a sense of community, a sense of pride, and just a sense of letting kids be kids," Masoner said.

Not to mention, dads being dads.

"Just hope my son hits a home run," Rhines said.

Officials say they hope now there will be a big turnout for their September 30th fundraiser, as they hope to build an indoor activities center there at the park.


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