Competing for a cause

Police and firefighters host annual charity softball game.
Jun. 29, 2014 @ 08:36 AM

Friendly competition and camaraderie helped raise money for two charities during the fifth annual Guns & Hoses softball game held at McNair Field on Saturday. 

Police officers, firefighters and other emergency personnel came together for the slow-pitch softball game that raised money for individual charities selected by the teams. 

"It's unique because we picked organizations to give money to. In the past we just did it for fun," Captain Chris Lovelace with the Forest City Police Department said.  

Team Hoses was made up of firemen from Cliffside, Sandy Mush, Bostic, Forest City, Spindale and Lake Lure fire departments. Team Guns brought together law enforcement officers from the Spindale Police Department, North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Forest City Police Department and Rutherford County's Sheriff's Office. 

Forest City Owls General Manager Cory Dirksen came up with the idea to use the game to raise money for charities and each team was challenged to sell tickets leading up to the game. A portion of tickets sold went to the teams' charities. 

The Hoses chose Hospice of Rutherford County and the Guns played for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life Forest City Team. 

"One of the things we are trying to do here (McNair Field) is create more charity events," Cory Dirksen, Forest City Owls General Manager, said. "We want to keep doing this every year and want to challenge the players competing to sell tickets. We want it to be a fun day and for us, the real winners are the charities." 

Although the teams were competitive, the players agreed the best part of the day was interacting with the other departments.

"It's all about camaraderie," Bill Short, a volunteer with Sandy Mush Fire Department and Spindale police officer, said. Short decided to play on the Hoses team even though he is also an officer. 

"Most of us on the fire department side are volunteers," Short said. "This is just about the fellowship and charities." 

After seven innings of play and one out-of-the-park home run by Guns player Jacob Hoyle with the Forest City Police Department, the Guns emerged victorious with a 23-13 win. 

"This is great, All-American fun. It's something you can bring the family to in Forest City," Tracy Short, spectator and wife of Bill Short, said.

At the end of the game, Dirksen announced the teams raised $310 for Hospice of Rutherford County and $810 for the American Cancer Society.