MONTREAL-Canadian-West Milford relations took a double hit, while a Detroit team added a single in losses to thieves The West Milford Mickey Mantle Baseball Club traveled to Montreal on July 7 to participate in an international Canadian baseball tournament and made it to the semi-finals
.. the hard way. Manager Mike Lezette, coaches Rick Nudo and Bob Lamarco, along with parents and family of the 10 players, all 15-16 years old, checked into the Montreal Hilton Gardens, only to realize that Laurie Thomas's (mother of catcher Chris Thomas) purse had been stolen in the hotel restaurant. Taken were $500 in cash, passports and documents. Although a search of the area revealed no purse or money, the hotel video security system confirmed the theft. Later that night, the team was treated to a night in old Montreal, where the boys ate dinner and toured historic landmarks. Upon arriving back at the parking garage, longtime baseball coach and Little League Director Dan Drexler discovered his new Ford F-150 had been stolen sometime during the evening. In the new truck were birth certificates for he and his son Zach, along with all the baseball gear belonging to Drexler and pitcher Bryce Warden. Both Warden and his father James, also a longtime baseball coach, were traveling together with the Drexlers. Later the same night, a 2004 Hummer belonging to another U.S. team from Detroit, was stolen out of the hotel parking lot. It was recovered the next day with severe damage to the interior. Drexler's vehicle however, was not recovered, and it was necessary for both younger Warden and Drexler to play with borrowed gloves and bats. Customs police in Canada believe the rash of auto thefts in Montreal is due to gang activity and caution anyone traveling to Canada to be vigilant with their vehicles. In spite of all the thefts, the team made it to the semi-finals behind timely hitting and incredible defensive plays.