Texas JUCO player suspected of defacing rocks

A McLennan Community College student who played in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series was cited for allegedly vandalizing rocks at the Alcove at Colorado National Monument. McLennan’s team is the Highlanders, and the initials “MCC” and several names matching those of players listed on McLennan’s baseball team roster can be seen in other photos of the defacement.

One of the players for a Texas team that competed in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series last week has been cited on suspicion of vandalizing Colorado National Monument, his coach said Sunday.

The person plays for the Waco, Texas-based McLennan Community College, said the team’s coach, Mitch Thompson.

While the coach would not reveal the name of the player, Thompson said the player turned himself in after the coach was approached by a National Park Service ranger about the incident, which occurred sometime last week.

Thompson said the ranger saw the graffiti in an area of the monument known as the Alcove near the main visitors center, and approached him about it.

The ranger knew to do so because the team’s name, the Highlanders, had been scratched on the side of the alcove.

“I spoke to the whole team when I found out,” Thompson said. “It was a mistake by an 18-year-old kid that’s not going to leave a permanent mark. The kid’s learned a lesson and I’m very sorry it occurred because everything in Grand Junction is so beautiful.”

Along with the name of the team were the names of three players, first baseman Chase Sortor, a freshman, and pitchers Brady Childress, a freshman, and Michael Cugini, a sophomore.

Thompson said the player who wrote on the wall saw a section at the monument that had other graffiti and thought it was acceptable to add his own markings.

Along with the name of the team and those three players, other scratchings that appeared related to the team include,“MCC,” and, “2017 JUCO WS.”

That section of the wall had many other names and other markings, but none of them correspond to any other player on the team or to the tournament.

The coach said the player used chalk rock to make the marks, and hoped that meant there wouldn’t be any permanent damage to the monument.

“When you hear the word, ‘graffiti,’ the first thing you think is, ‘Oh my gosh. Is it paint? Is it something else?’” the coach said. “But like the ranger said, it’s in no way a permanent mark and should be easy to clean up.”

Thompson said as soon as he confronted members of his team, the player immediately admitted to it and turned himself in to the proper authorities, which issued him a citation.

Officials with the monument could not be reached for comment.

The team, which made its sixth JUCO appearance this year, won a national championship in 1983, and finished 52-13 this season.

The Highlanders went 1-2 to finish sixth in the 10-team double-elimination tournament.

They were eliminated last Wednesday with a 19-11 loss to the eventual national champions, Chipola College of Marianna, Florida.


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