2008-08-16 / Top News

'Guns' Seek To Break Losing Streak to 'Hoses' in Softball Rivalry

By Ryan Schlehuber

As a police officer or a firefighter, losing a battle, whether it's to a criminal, a fire, losing can never be satisfying. In a charity softball game, that is another matter. Or is it?

For the "Guns" of the Mackinac Island Police Department, losing for a sixth consecutive time in the seventh annual Guns-n-Hoses charity softball game, to be played at Great Turtle Park Sunday, August 17, has the Police Department determined and "gunning" for a victory.

"I think our losing streak has to come to an end," said state trooper Micky Brazaski, who will serve as co-captain, along with city police officer Andy Dziobak, for the Guns this year. "We're hoping for a victory."

The event, which begins at 6:30 p.m., benefits the Mark Gallagher Scholarship Fund to support Mackinac Island Public School graduates studying criminal justice. Mr. Gallagher is a 1998 graduate of Mackinac Island Public School who was pursuing a career in law enforcement. He died of cancer January 2001, and the scholarship fund is endowed with the Mackinac Island Community Foundation.

Raffles, a 50/50 drawing, a cook-out, and a golf chipping contest will be held, as well.

The seven-inning game is played for a good cause, but once the first pitch is thrown, the competitive spirit of the players comes out.

"For most of us, it's all in good nature, but a couple of us take it pretty seriously," chuckled Fire Chief Dennis Bradley. "It's a fun game, but any time you have a win-loss situation, especially when we're talking about police officers and firefighters, losing is something they definitely don't want to do."

Second-year Police Chief Jim Marks believes his Guns team can win its first game since the rivalry began in 2002.

"All my guys are either young hotshot ball players or older guys who have been practicing," he said. Hedging, he added, "I'll say we're going to win, but I'm not sure what the outcome will be. We'll definitely give them a good run, though."

The Hoses have a 73-71 scoring advantage in the six games the two teams have played. The Guns' only victory came in the inaugural 2002 game, and that was by a whopping 23-3. Aside from that, however, the Hoses have amassed a 70-48 point scoring edge.

Team chemistry is always an obstacle the Guns have to overcome as a result of a high turnover on the seasonal force. But the team hopes to make up for that in spirit and energy.

"We'll be successful if we can play to our potential," said Trooper Brazaski.

As for the Hoses, they look to continue their string of success based on experience of playing together, solid play both defensively and offensively,

and with the confidence they have built through the last five games.

In the past, the Hoses have invited the likes of Mackinac State Historic Parks Director Phil Porter and Island residents Clay Fuller and Jack Dehring to play to fill out their roster. Larry Rickley, one of the team's best power hitters, said they may call on those guys again.

The Guns also sought outside help in past games, having invited members of the U.S. Coast Guard to play.

"I'll say it feels pretty good to be on a winning streak, but as long as we get to play the game, that's what I'm really looking forward to, just getting to play," said Mr. Rickley, who misses the time when the Island had a full summer softball league.

All in all, as long as everyone has a good time, then both teams are successful, said Trooper Brazaski.

"It's a great time for the community to come together for a good cause," he said. "Don't get me wrong, I'm a very competitive person, and I want to win, but win or lose, we'll have a good time."

Last year, the event raised $1,300 for the Mark Gallagher Scholarship Fund.

Recap of Annual Guns-n-Hoses Softball Game

August 12, 2007 - Hoses 16, Guns 8

The Hoses' bats caught fire as the Fire Department jumped out to a 10-0 lead by the second inning, helping pitcher Jason St. Onge overcome his struggles on the mound, having walked a series of Guns batters, who managed to cut the lead to 10-5, in the bottom of the second inning. The Hoses built a 16-7 lead by the sixth inning, allowing only one more Guns run before clinching its fifth consecutive victory against the Police Department.

August 13, 2006 - Hoses 9, Guns 5

The Hoses scored seven runs in the fifth inning, with the help of a home run by Larry Rickley, taking a commanding 9-4 lead. The Guns could only muster one more run before bowing to the Hoses in their fourth straight loss to their rival.

August 7, 2005 - Hoses 14, Guns 13

Action and intensity was plentiful in what was the second of two close games played between these two departments since beginning the tradition in 2002. The Hoses showed up short of players and recruited people from the crowd, such as Jack Dehring, Clay Fuller, and Phil Porter, who managed to hit an inthe park home run in the bottom of the third. The Hoses built an 11-10 lead heading into the fifth, scoring three more runs in the sixth inning. The Guns cut the Hoses' lead to one run, but could not muster a hit in the seventh and final inning.

August 22, 2004 - Hoses 18, Guns 10

For the first time, the Hoses took a 2-1 series advantage behind home runs from Larry Rickley and Lyle Horn, who helped establish a 13-7 lead after two innings. The Guns never recovered, however, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) seaman Kevin Keyninck, who, along with other USCG members, played for the Guns, hit two home runs.

August 10, 2003 - Hoses 13, Guns 12

Driven by motivation to avenge a 23-3 "hose-down" in the inaugural Guns-n-Hoses game the previous year, the Hoses managed to stave off the Guns to earn the first of five consecutive wins, with offensive help from Craig Bunker and Robert McGreevy, who each hit a home run for the Hoses.

August 18, 2002 - Guns 23, Hoses 3

The anticipation that was generated leading up to the inaugural match-up between Mackinac Island's Police Department and Fire Department proved more intense than what was seen on the field, as the Guns took control of the game quickly with a 10-0 fifth inning lead, and managed to keep the Hoses' bats almost silent throughout the game. State Trooper Robert Mossing hit a home run for the Guns in the seventh and final inning. The 20- point drubbing by the Guns seemed to have sparked more competitiveness in the Fire Department, however, as the Hoses went on to win the next four games, and currently hold a 5-1 series advantage.

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