Before they played their first game at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship, the Edmonds Starz of Washington suffered a huge loss.
Just 12 hours after checking into their hotel, and four hours before their first game, the truck of head coach Adrian Manuel was stolen from the hotel parking lot. And in the truck was all the team gear.
"We arrived Sunday night at 11 p.m., it got stolen Monday morning at 11:15 a.m.," said Manuel. "Right in front of the Surrey Ramada. I watched it drive away. As I was walking in the lobby, I saw it turning onto Highway 10."
The Starz were missing their equipment for Monday's exhibition game against the Lloydminster Rebels at Cloverdale Athletic Park.
"I'm the head coach, so I carry all the gear. I'm talking six buckets of softballs and nets which we hit into," said Manuel. "And even a barbecue, because I cook for the team when we're at tournaments like this."
The situation improved over the next 48 hours. Manuel used his contacts to borrow some equipment for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tournament organizers also stepped forward, as did a fan at Softball City.
"I also coach at Edmonds Community College, and we sometimes play up here against Douglas College. So I called their coach and asked if they could help out," Manuel said. "Before our game Tuesday, (Douglas College coach Michelle Peterson) showed up with some gear to help us out. The tournament committee loaned us a dozen softballs, and one guy (Don Thompson) gave us a set of catcher's gear for the team. He told us to keep it."
Things got even better Wednesday morning. An RCMP officer showed up and said the truck had been found – and it appeared all the equipment was still inside.
"He came, got my key, and said he was going directly to the truck," said Manuel. "But I'm not going to say yes I have it until I put my hands on it.
"I've travelled up and down the I-5 corridor to to play in California and through Oregon, and into Colorado. This has never happened to me."