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Arlington Little League Battles Back After Theft Cancels Season

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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – An Arlington little league is mounting a major comeback. Their president allegedly bankrupt the teams last season, but the kids are back and the league may just be better than ever.

Throw the ball. Hit the ball. Catch the ball. Baseball is a simple game that unfortunately got complicated for some southeast Arlington kids last fall.

Police arrested Southeast Arlington Little League president Claudia Yamell Castillo. The woman is accused of stealing some $20,000 in league money.

So with no cash, and bills piling up, the season was cancelled.

League secretary Tammy Wilson said, “It’s just amazing. I was thinking about it the other day and I had tears down my face, just thinking about how far we’ve come.”

When the story came out, a trio of Texas Rangers baseball players covered the debt and the community flooded the league with donations.

It’s now six months later, and the league has not only made a comeback – it’s bigger…better…stronger… and some might argue faster.

There are now more than 400 players expected to participate in the league this year. So many younger kids signed up, there are now a record number of t-ball teams. Parents are even volunteering in numbers never seen before.

Marlon Goocher had never managed a team. This spring, he’s getting a group of 9-year-old’s ready for the season. One of the players is his son, Joshua, who plays a lot of positions.

After the theft league managers spent time with other leagues in the area. They learned how to tighten their record keeping and improve communication.

After a season of empty stands and locked gates, on a weeknight during spring break, every field in the park was full.

“It’s a family. That’s the way it was before, we thought, but now it’s people who really care about the outcome.”

The economic crimes unit of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office is still investigating the theft case against former league president Castillo.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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