Members of the Sedalia Police and Fire departments will be putting on a different kind of uniform Saturday for a Guns vs. Hoses slow-pitch softball game, hosted by the Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department.
SPD and SFD have played each other in flag football games, but it’s been several years since a game has taken place. Zach Patton, Recreation Supervisor for Parks and Rec, had the idea to get the games started again.
“The fire department has a (rec league) softball team and then I’ve played softball the past couple years occasionally with (SPD Cmdr.) Larry Ward,” Patton said. “There’s a lot of cities that do stuff like this and I reached out to Larry and Daniel Hargrave (with SFD) about doing something and they were all in on it.”
Patton said the game will be more than your average rec league softball game, with play-by-play announcing from KMMO’s James Abey and starting off the game with the national anthem sung by Richard DeFord.
“Police and Fire used to play against each other years ago. My dad was a firefighter and I actually watched the game years ago,” SFD firefighter Dan Hargrave said. “We had wanted to try to get it going again, and this was the first year we were able to do that. Parks and Rec helped and we’re pretty excited.”
SFD has a team in the rec league, so Hargrave said their games have served as practice for Saturday’s match-up. Ward said SPD hasn’t practiced much, but was planning to get in some time on the field this week, and a few officers have gotten some practice through playing on their own rec teams.
The two teams will be playing for the traveling Mayor’s Trophy. The roughly four-foot-tall trophy resides at the SPD station, as the police team won the last sporting event played between the two departments. Ward said he doesn’t anticipate having to hand the trophy over to SFD.
“We’ll bring it, and the fire team can look at it and touch it, but we will own that,” Ward said with a laugh.
Ward said spectators can expect a “friendly, fierce competition.”
“We’re definitely going to give it our best shot,” Hargrave said of winning the game. “We’ve been teasing about their trophy will look good in our new station display case,” he added with a laugh.
Not only will the game be a fun rivalry between the two departments, it will also benefit the Center for Human Services. Entry to the game is by donation only, and all proceeds will go to CHS. Patton said Parks and Rec has hosted previous events to benefit Open Door and Child Safe of West Central Missouri Inc., and they wanted to continue supporting a variety of local causes.
“(SPD and SFD) haven’t played softball in years. When Zach brought it up he already had CHS in mind, a great group we all support, kind of a win-win,” Ward said. “We get to play ball and interact with some clients from CHS and if we raise any funds, but awareness is just as good.”
“Another reason we (decided to host the game) was we have the new turf out (at Liberty Park Stadium),” Patton said. “I know there was concern about it being turned to turf and it’ll give people a chance to see it if they haven’t while supporting a good cause.”
Both SFD and SPD will have vehicles outside the stadium for visitors to view, including SFD’s 100-foot platform truck, Hargrave said.
Gates open at 10:15 a.m. and the game will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Liberty Park Stadium.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.