It was probably one of the largest crowds Clemens Field has seen thus far this year.
And it wasn’t even for a Cavemen game.
Members of the Hannibal police and fire departments came together for a Guns and Hoses softball game at the historic ballpark Monday night and all the money raised went to charity.
“It’s fun. It’s a good time. It’s a new experience, good experience,” rookie cop Jessica Sparks said. She’s only been on the job about a month, but got assigned to shortstop for the Monday evening showdown. “It’s nice to get everyone out here for it. Being part of a family is what it’s like.”
For the first time in a long time the game of softball shined on the Clemens Field diamond and the wet playing surface from an earlier shower didn’t stop Hannibal’s finest and bravest from playing a friendly ballgame.
“It’s good for both city departments. This just kind of shows the camaraderie with both departments, everybody can work together. It’s good to bring the people out, the fans, have a nice day,” Mark Van Winkle with the Hannibal Fire Department team said. “This is awesome. I’d like to see it done every year, actually. I think it’s a good thing for us. I was worried about my knees, but this is awesome. Feel like big ballplayers out here.”
The firemen were the visitors in the contest and got off with a bang.
Mark Kempker played at Clemens Field when he played high school ball 25 years ago. It was 1987 the last time he got a hit there and when he led off the Guns and Hoses game, he smashed a triple.
“Love it. Awesome. Cool,” Kempker said in short, but with excitement. “It’s a great charity game, the whole nine yards. It’s great for Hannibal.”
Kempker’s lead-off triple inspired the rest of the Hoses to collect five more runs, but the Guns of the Hannibal Police Department responded by scoring four runs of their own in the bottom half of the first and then two more in the bottom of the second to take a 6-5 lead.
“It’s kind of awesome,” Greg Carley, the Guns pitcher said. “I’ve always been into sports, I played sports in high school. It’s kind of cool to play on a field where future big leaguers could be playing.”
The Guns had a steady lead going into the top of the ninth with an 18-13 lead, but the Hoses did not quit. The Hoses came back to score six runs and shut down the Guns in the bottom half of the inning to finish as the victors 19-18.
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