2005-08-13 / Sports

Guns and Hoses: Firemen Stay One Step Ahead in Softball Game

By Jessica Delaney

Andy Dziobak steps up to the plate for the cops. Though Mr. Dziobak had some strong hitting throughout the game, it wasn’t quite enough to save his team from defeat.
Andy Dziobak steps up to the plate for the cops. Though Mr. Dziobak had some strong hitting throughout the game, it wasn’t quite enough to save his team from defeat.

The general rule of baseball is to “root, root, root for the home team, if they don’t win it’s a shame.” But that rule was a little hazy at the fourth annual Guns and Hoses softball game, played Sunday, August 7, at Great Turtle Park. Island firefighters teamed up against the Mackinac Island Police Department for a benefit game.

At the outset, the game looked like it would be an easy win for the police. They had youth and experience on their side, while the firemen didn’t even have enough players to field a team. Several eager players were standing nearby, however, willing to get into the action, so the fire department recruited several bystanders, including Phil Porter, Jack Dehring, and Clay Fuller.

Still, it didn’t look like the extra help would be enough for the fire department. The police started out strong with a run scored by Kyle Hewlett, and in the second half of the inning, the firefighters were unable to retaliate. After a series of fly-outs, they returned to the bench without scoring.

The second inning remained slow, without a score by the police. But after a score by the firefighters, the cops’ spirit was renewed and they began a rally midway through the bottom of the second. With two outs and a man on second, Jason Ehlert made a diving catch from left field to grab the third out, returning the police to bat, where they began a tremendous rally.

The firefighters were plagued by errors in the third inning, allowing four runs on errors alone. Then Mr. Hewlett again stepped to the plate and slammed one out to the fence. The firefighters were unable to get to the ball in time, and Mr. Hewlett made his way around the bases for an in-the-park home run. When the firefighters finally struggled their way to three outs, the damage had been done and the police were ahead, seven to one.

Imitation firefighter Phil Porter refused to just roll over and die, however, scoring himself an in-park homerun in the bottom of the third and bringing in Clark Bloswick as well. Unfortunately, the third-inning score ended there for the fire department.

The confident cops continued their streak in the fourth inning, bringing in another three runs with solid hitting. They took to the field ahead by seven runs, halfway through the game.

The firefighters wore dispirited expressions as they headed up to bat. Clay Fuller was lead-off for the inning, and continued his strong batting average, landing another solid single, followed by Jason St. Onge, who connected for his first hit of the evening. The streak of fortune didn’t end there, though, as one after another, firefighters slammed off hits. The fire department went all the way through its batting order before the cops were finally able to shut them down. The damage had been done, however, and the teams headed into the fifth inning with the firefighters in the lead, 11 to 10.

Play slowed in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, without significant contributions made by either team. The cops managed to tie the score in the fifth, but lost it in the sixth. Going into the seventh inning, the score was 14 to 13, in favor of the fire department.

Up first, the police had one last chance to score, tie the game, and head into extra innings. Their efforts were not enough, however, and after a quick succession of outs, the game was over, won, surprisingly to both teams, by the fire department.

The game was played to benefit the Mark Gallagher Scholarship Fund. Along with the game itself, concessions were sold, there was a fireman hat raffle, and a 9-iron chipping contest. Prizes for the chipping contest included such treats as a round of golf for four people at Grand Hotel’s Jewel Nine Golf Course.

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