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On a beautiful afternoon at Security Service Field, batting practice was in full swing. The crack of the bat filled the air as baseballs from the Colorado Springs coaching staff flew through the high altitude.
It was the beginning of another home game for the Sky Sox, but the top Brewers prospects weren’t in the cages this time around.
Instead, members of the Colorado Springs service community stood in the batter’s box, as representatives of the Colorado Springs Police Department, Colorado Springs Fire Department and the Colorado Springs chapter of the Wounded Warriors Project gathered to help kick off the 2017 Heroes Classic.
“It’s always fun to meet people that protect and serve our country,” said Sky Sox Manager Rick Sweet. “Any time I get an opportunity to spend time with these people and for my players to spend quality time with these people is always a great for them and for us.”
The annual batting practice was part of the Heroes Classic schedule, which aims to raise money and support for the men and women of the Colorado Springs community that choose to protect and serve the freedom and rights both at home and abroad.
“It’s an honor to serve the citizens of Colorado Springs and be able to do the things that I do,” said CSFD’s Ryan Pighetti, a 10-year firefighter at Station 17. “Being recognized for something like this is just icing on the cake. I have service inside of me and that’s why I do what I do.”
Pighetti and many others from across the three organizations had the opportunity to step onto the field and interact with players who share common values of hard work, determination, camaraderie and sacrifice.
“We talked about the camaraderie between the fire department, between their teammates, and a lot of it is the same,” said Pighetti. “These guys have put just as much hard work and determination into their career as I’ve put into my career to get to where we’ve ended up to this point.”
“It’s incredible when our warriors and their family members can come out on the field with professional baseball players and take some swings in the batting cages,” said Greg Monck, Alumni Manager for the Colorado Springs chapter of the Wounded Warrior Project. “It’s an awesome time for them and it helps get them out of the house and hang out with their families.”
For the Sox, an event such as the Heroes Classic batting practice allows the team to show gratitude for those who allow them to play their favorite game.
“For the players, it gives them a chance to touch base with people that allow us to have fun playing the sport that we get to play,” said Sweet. “It’s because of our warriors and the police and fire departments that we have the freedom to play baseball.”
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.