WALLA WALLA — Law Enforcement took home bragging rights here Saturday night at Borleske Stadium in the Battle of the Badges.
Law Enforcement defeated the Firefighters 9-5 to claim the first Battle of the Badges trophy.
And the Walla Walla community came through in support of its first responders, as 2,194 fans came out for the Blue Mountain Girls Softball Association, the YMCA Youth Sustaining Program, and the Walla Walla Area Crime Watch. The Walla Walla Sweets hosted the Battle, and Sweets general manager Zachary Fraser estimated that about $18,000 was raised for those three charities.
“Fantastic night and the Blue (Law Enforcement) won,” Law first base coach and city police chief Scott Beiber said. “More importantly, the community won. Absolutely fantastic. Great community support, good baseball game, and the police won. But actually the charities won.”
The Law got singles from Richard Schram and Dondi Cortinas to score twice in the top of the first and grab a 2-0 lead. After extinguishing the Fire in the home first, the Law struck again.
Luke Watson drove a ball to right center and streaked all the way around the bases with a head-first slide into home for an inside-the-park two-run home run and the Law extended the lead to 4-0.
“It was a 3-1 count and guys were telling me it better be good if I swing at it,” Watson said. “I was looking for a fatty pitch. I might have closed my eyes when I swung. I know I kicked it from third gear to second or first rounding third and going home. I had nothing left in my legs.”
The Law added one in the third before the Firefighters fought back.
Paul Renwick drew a walk to start the Fire third. Josh Wilbur drove Renwick home with a double, Toby Slater drove Jay Jones, who had walked, and Wilbur home with a single. Tony McGuire completed the rally with a single to score Slater. Fire trailed 5-4 after three.
Jones drove in a fourth-inning Fire run to knot the score at 5-5 after four.
Gunner Fulmer’s second of three hits on the game, a walk, a hit batsman, and a mis-play plated two Law runs in the fifth to put Law back on top 7-5. Watson’s second hit of the night keyed a one-hit, two-hit-batsman, two-walk, seventh as Law put this one out of reach with two more runs, running the score to 9-5.
Watson pitched three scoreless innings in relief to nail down the win.
“I tried to keep it off their uniforms and keep it in the strike zone,” Watson said of his relief work. “Brian (Fortin) the catcher, was a backstop back there.”
Law won but that was not the story.
“It was a great night,” Watson said. “My family and my in-laws all came. Now we get to relax and have some fun with all these firefighter guys that pegged us five or six times. Charity is the number one part. Having all these fans come out and we get to get closer to the citizens we serve that is (also) a major payoff.”
This won’t be the last time the emergency services face off.
“Absolutely,” Beiber said of next year’s plan to stage Battle of the Badge II. “Too much fun.”
LE 9, FIREFIGHTERS 5
Law 221 020 2 — 9 9 1
Fire 004 100 0 — 5 6 5
Schram, Watson (5) and Fortin; Jones, Mohney (4), Chase (7) and Renwick, Hicks (4).
HR — Law: Watson.
Hits — Law: Schram 2, Cortinas 2, Watson 2, Fortin, Fulmer 2; Fire: Wilbur, Slater, McGuire, Jones, Mohney, Hicks.