Teams interrupted by parking lot shooting return to Pepperhill Park

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 10:04 PM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 11:59 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Families and players have been through a lot since a baseball game was interrupted by gunfire at Pepperhill Park over two weeks ago.

Parents have attended a community meeting and a news conference with the city and even had a chance to visit the RiverDogs to resume their interrupted game.

In that time, some parents say they’ve been able to step back and recover.

The Angels and Royals, the two teams who were on the field during the shooting, played a scheduled game Wednesday evening at the park in North Charleston.

April Blanton is a parent to an Angels player as well as a younger sibling who also had a game at Pepperhill Wednesday evening and she says her kids were nervous about coming back.

“Both of my kids when I told them we were playing here tonight, they were kind of nervous,” Blanton said. “I explained to them that lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice. You know.”

Blanton says she and her kids came back because it’s important for them to continue playing the game they love and conquer any fears they may have.

“Good baseball memories are always going to trump the bad baseball memories,” Blanton said. “And we don’t let the bad win, we let love win, we let God win and we don’t let the evil take over our lives. And so that was kind of the motto that we took and we talked about it with the boys and we said a prayer right before we got out of the car this afternoon.”

Each team needs at least eight players to play, and more than that showed up for each team.

Some parents expressed to Live 5 in previous interviews they will not be returning to play at Pepper Hill this year, and they didn’t come to the game. Those parents felt, that even as the city takes steps, it’s not enough and they don’t feel comfortable.

Kathy Kackley is the Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation in North Charleston. She attended the game for the first few innings to see the kids back in action. She says the department has already put up more lighting at the fields, thanks to Dominion Energy, and trimmed back some of the growing brush at the edge of the parking lot.

Four police officers manned the parking lot at Wednesday’s games, and two are scheduled to be at every game going forward. The city also scheduled the Angels and Royals game early in the evening in the lighter hours.

“Fencing will be coming in but it hasn’t gotten here yet,” Kackley said. “I know that was important when you know sometimes there’ll be one gate open and sometimes there’ll be two gates open.”

She explained that the park will be getting a few new protocols after a community meeting with families and city officials last week.

“The parents were very honest, that was a very candid meeting,” Kackley said. “And we as a city met and were doing the lighting and having additional officers, but the other things came from the parents so and we want to honor that request for them.”

Parents say they got an email from the parks department this week after some teams did not show up to Pepperhill and teams forfeited games.

Parents at the Wednesday evening games said they are just happy to see their kids on the field and are understanding of whatever families choose to do moving forward.

“I know that all of the parents were not comfortable bringing their children out here and that’s 100% okay, you know,” Blanton said. “Each parent, you do you.”

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