Roughly ten minutes after they posed for this picture with their plaque for finishing second in a Portland, Oregon fastpitch tournament, Langley’s Fraser Valley Fusion 2006 team returned to their bus to discover thieves had gone through it. It was the day after someone stolen the bus catalytic converter. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Roughly ten minutes after they posed for this picture with their plaque for finishing second in a Portland, Oregon fastpitch tournament, Langley’s Fraser Valley Fusion 2006 team returned to their bus to discover thieves had gone through it. It was the day after someone stolen the bus catalytic converter. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

A theft-plagued road trip to the U.S. for Langley fast-pitch team

Thieves struck twice in two days

It was a good road trip, if you don’t count the thefts.

Fraser Valley Fusion 2006 suffered a series of unfortunate events when they travelled across the border to play in the DeMarini August Classic fast-pitch tournament at North Portland’s Delta Park on Aug. 6 and 7, their last tournament before heading off to the Montreal national championships.

On their first day in Oregon, someone cut the catalytic converter from the team bus while it was parked in a hotel near the airport.

Coach Kaitlyn Cameron said they were able to get it fixed, quickly.

“One of our dads was driving bus, and he was able to find someone to get it repaired that day.”

READ ALSO: Langley rep fastpitch squad goes 8-0 in White Rock tourney

On the second day, the team played to a second-place finish, and proudly posed for a picture with their plaque.

About 10 minutes later, they returned to the bus, to discover thieves had struck again, this time making off with backpacks, cash, a laptop, headphones, clothes, and some of the girls’ passports.

It appeared someone had forced the bus door open, possibly with a crowbar.

“The first few rows of stuff [on the seats] were taken,” Cameron told the Langley Advance Times.

Fortunately, the team had copies of the birth certificates for the players whose passports were stolen, and they also had their driver’s licences, so they were able to get back across the border, after explaining the circumstances to the Canada Border Services Agency.

“The customs guys were super awesome,” Cameron commented.

Cameron was philosophical about the trip, saying she had no reason not to return to Oregon, though probably not in a bus.

“We had a really good weekend on the field,” the coach observed,

“In the field, it was not quite so good.”

A few days later, police in Oregon announced they busted a $22 million catalytic converter theft ring that allegedly trafficked in 44,000 stolen converters since early 2021.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Langley softball team plays ball, while maintaining ‘social distancing’

The teams’ grace under pressure impressed a few Americans, including a rival team member, Brandi Joseph.

“We had the opportunity to play your ladies twice this weekend,” Joseph posted on the Fusion Facebook page.

“What a very talented group. And apparently funny according to a few of our girls. Our entire team was so saddened by your experience in Portland. We are very happy you made it home safely.”

Another Oregonian, Jay Ward, wished them “bonne chance’ in Montreal and apologized.

“So sorry that you fell victim to our ongoing and inhospitable crime spree. We hope you’ll give us another chance once we get our act together,” Ward said.

Up next for the team, a trip to the nationals in Montreal, which start Wednesday, Aug 17, running till the 21st.

“We’re ready to go,” Cameron declared.

“It will be our first time at the nationals [and] we’re going in as the top B.C. team.”


Have a story tip? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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