Youth baseball teams conned by sham tourney

WALNUT, Calif. "This is usually what you get rather than cash," said Marisa Compolongo as she displayed her son's many trophies. The shiny hardware is typical for youth baseball, but then they saw a Web site advertising a "Super Sluggers Tournament" for /*Memorial Day*/ weekend. Instead of trophies, this tournament offered cash prizes. You just pay the $300 entrance fee and the team could win big.

"The first place was $1,000, second place is $500. So the kids had a chance of winning money and they can play tournaments later on with that money," explained Compolongo.

The Compolongos sent their money to a /*South Gate*/ address and so did Al Rodriquez with the Whittier Pony League, who paid $2,100 for seven teams. They later found out there were many more.

"On the paper that I had, there were 92 teams, but from what I heard, it's upwards of 125 to150," described Al Rodriguez.

Scores of teams were building high hopes until they saw that the Super Slugger Tournament was canceled. And as for the money back guarantee? The phone number was cut, and the organizer Robert Rodriguez was nowhere to be found at the listed South Gate address. Fields throughout the Southland where the tournament was supposed to be played turned up cold. Field managers say that no one contacted them about a Memorial Day weekend event.

"Now, I am thinking we got duped. We got ripped off," said Al Rodriguez.

They want their money back and Compolongo had to explain it all to her 10-year-old son.

"He was pretty sad but we told him that we'd find another tournament and that stuff like this happens and that there's people out there that just take advantage of young and old people in distress. We were just a victim," said Compolongo.

The victimized kids range in age from 6 to 16 years old. Parents are filing police reports from jurisdictions from all over the Southland like Lynwood, Whittier, Rowland Heights and Walnut.

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