MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - It was a trip that had been years in the planning. Sadly, a local high school baseball team's Florida visit had to be postponed due to the pandemic. But now, to make matters worse, they've been unable to get their money back.
"A lot of people were looking forward to going and they didn't get to," said Edison High School baseball player Sam Schneider.
Every two years, the Edison High School baseball team heads to Florida for nearly a week to work on their fundamentals and teambuilding skills. But this year, the team struck out on the spring training trip because of COVID-19, and it's costing them more than just a few days of fun in the sun.
"They are disappointed because they were really looking forward to going to Florida," said coach Bernie Kunza. "They'd heard a lot of great things about it from people who had gone in the past and, really, it was just a chance to play baseball."
The Tomcats spent the last two years raising money for 27 players and coaches to make the trip by doing odd jobs like raking leaves and bagging groceries. But after the team learned they couldn't travel due to the pandemic back in March, the Coastal Florida Sports Park said it wouldn't refund the more than $18,000 the team had prepaid to go.
"They said they had spent most of the money on administrative fees...fielding a bunch of emails and phone calls from parents," Kunz said.
Coach Bernie Kunza said the contract he signed indicates there's a 30-percent non-refundable deposit -- meaning they should get around $12,000 back. On top of all that, he says Sun Country Airlines offered them credit vouchers they have to use within a year instead of a $14,000 refund for their tickets. But the airline says the team would be eligible to get some of its money back because there were significant schedule changes.
"Their hard-earned money that they've worked so hard for two years," the coach explained, "for them to get it ripped out from under them, that's not right."
The team has started a crowdfunding campaign to pay for legal fees to recoup their losses. They say getting any money returned to pay for the next trip in two years would be a home run.
"We would be very joyous if that could happen and I think it would give us a lot of hope," said Schneider. "I think a lot of us have been very upset about not getting the money back and I think it would mean a lot."
Coach Kunza says he's also reached out to the attorney generals in Minnesota and Florida. They've both tried to contact Coastal Florida Sports Park, but so far the company hasn't responded.