LEAKESVILLE, MS (WLOX) - In the small town of Leakesville, playing baseball is not the same at Bear Creek Ballpark these days. The city's summer league coaches and players are surrounded by devastation. April's supersized tornado wrecked the town and the park, leaving the kids with no place to play.
"It looks pretty bad," one player said about the damage.
There are lights down, fences broken, concession stands gone and debris everywhere in the park
"I just can't believe the whole thing got tore up, and I wish we can see it get better," a 10-year-old baseball player said about the park he loves.
That child's wish is about to come true, thanks to Tashana Bufkin. She entered the OxiClean Brighten Up Your BallGame Contest on the last entry day.
"We do not have much in our little town and support is something we rely on," Bufkin wrote in her entry. "We desperately need our park and fields rebuilt, so our kids can play ball."
Bufkin thought she had lost the contest, but to her surprise she scored a victory. Her words inspired the OxiClean to award the town with $10,000.
"We cried. We definitely cried because this is where our kids play, this is where our community gets together, and this is where we meet new friends."
Summer leaguer Brantley Smith is still in shock about all the money, but he is happy to get it.
"10,000! That is a lot for us," Smith said.
Bufkin said seeing the children in her community smile again and have hope warms her heart. The mother is also happy she was able to help get the ball rolling on rebuilding this park bigger and better for Leakesville.
The program's director for the summer league said the money is a good start toward getting the park rebuilt. However, the damage from the tornado exceeded $100,000, so it's going to take a little bit more to full restore the park. If you would like to donate to help Leakesville rebuild its ball park, call (601) 394-9497.