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Event is a hit for charity

Echo Press photos by Celeste Beam Between innings, Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen (right) and Fire Chief Shane Schmidt (middle) had to run to the bases and then dress in each other's uniforms. Schmidt put on what a deputy wears and Wolbersen had to don firefighter's turnout gear. They gave each other a high-five at home base.1 / 2
Echo Press photo by Celeste Beam Alexandria Fire Chief Shane Schmidt slid home after knocking an inside the park home run - the only home run of the game. - during Wednesday night's Battle of the Bats charity softball game.2 / 2

Changing things up didn't break the streak.

Once again, the Alexandria Fire Department's team beat the Douglas County Law Enforcement team - this time, in a game of softball. The two teams usually battle it out in a charity game of broomball, which has always been won by the fire department.

And although the law enforcement players played their best during Wednesday night's six-inning game, the firefighters walked away with a 15-7 win.

Regardless of how well either team played, however, the event was a "smashing success," according to Ron Boyden, one of the event organizers and a deputy for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

The stands were filled with an estimated 900 people, and close to $2,000 was raised during the charity event. Proceeds from the game will be given to Alexandria Area Special Olympics and The Windmill Project.

As for the game, Boyden said players from both teams played their best, but "the better team won."

"The pre-game banter is so much fun with the firefighters," he said, noting that's all it was, banter.

Boyden and Alexandria Fire Chief Shane Schmidt said both teams had fun, but that the players always remember that the game is for the charities.

Boyden said, "I truly don't care about the score, as long as we can raise money for the charities."

Schmidt, who hit the only home run of the game, said, "What a turnout and what a success. We had fun, but the charities are the real winners."

He added that his home run was an "in the park home run."

Schmidt also said that he was impressed with his team. "I knew they hold hoses, but I didn't know they could hit a bat like that. Honestly, I thought we were going to lose."

But of course, the game wouldn't be a battle without some friendly rivalry between the teams.

In an e-mail to the newspaper Thursday morning, Boyden joked that a major investigation has been opened regarding score keeping.

"I can't get too detailed, but it is believed that many of the runs scored by the law enforcement team were given to the fire department. Furthermore, it is believed that Joe Mauer was dressed as Shane Schmidt at the time of his home run."

Schmidt thought, jokingly, there should be an investigation into the use of steroids by the law enforcement team.

One can only wonder where the investigation will lead...