This was the result of repeated events. The home owner got tired of the constant use of her property as a backstop for neighborhood sports leagues. It’s both a function of property rights and the security of peace. If keeping the ball represents a prosecutable offence (theft) then the court should also review the offence of trespassing and disturbing the peace.
To the extent the woman’s age is relevant is a function of respect. Her desire to be left alone without a bunch of howling street urchins disturbing her day may sound petty but it’s all she has. The kids are mobile bundles of energy who can relocate further down the street or to a park where there is space to play their games and make noise.
The Mayor Judge should take both sides into his/her chambers and require them to resolve this by themselves or fines would be levied against both as a deterrent to avoid a future waste of court and police time.
IMO the parents of the children should have approached their neighbor with a sincere attempt at resolving both issues and not use police to resolve their single issue. I was taught to respect the elderly. When I asked my Mom why she once told me that I would be old some day and would want to be treated that way. If she found out that my ball game was annoying a neighbor she would have told me to apologize and relocate the game.
By the way, this actually happened to me. I was at a friend’s house as a young adult and we were playing football. The game often wandered into front lawns and the police were called. It turned out that the older woman was frightened by voices and people around her house (it was dusk). When the police told us we all walked over, introduced ourselves and apologized. The person living next to her gave out his phone number in case she ever was ever scared or needed help. A negative situation was turned into a positive one. Civility is not that difficult.