HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (WNCN) — First responders from across the Triangle competed this weekend in the Battle of the Badges in Holly Springs.
Sunday marked the final day of the softball tournament, with the fire departments from Holly Springs and Apex competing for the championship.
A crack of the bat echoed across Ting Stadium all weekend, as eight teams from local police and fire agencies competed.
“Fellowship, just getting the teams together and not to have to worry about work, just come out and have fun,” said Jamie Holland, assistant fire chief of the Holly Springs Fire Department.
Now in its third year, the Battle of the Badges has continued to grow. In its first year, only two teams competed, and now, more agencies have expressed interest in getting involved next year.
“They see how much fun we have out for the weekend, you can come out and celebrate with your family,” Holland explained.
The eagerness to come out to the ballpark wasn’t limited to the players, with fans pouring into the stadium to cheer on their local heroes.
Their support was integral in supporting this year’s beneficiary, GiGi’s Playhouse Raleigh. Proceeds from ticket sales generated well over $7,000 for the organization that provides vital resources for those living with Down Syndrome free of charge.
“It’s just a built-in family and community. And not only that, you get free therapy, free support, and free educational programming for all ages,” said Site Manager Tara Stoll.
Having a child with Down Syndrome, Stoll says she’s seen firsthand the incredible impact the GiGi’s has on the community.
“My daughter is 14 and I don’t know where we would be if I didn’t have my Down Syndrome family,” Stoll said.
In addition to this event being a fundraiser, it also gave GiGi’s Playhouse an opportunity to increase awareness about its mission.
“It’s not just about money, it’s about spreading the word about Gigi’s Playhouse,” Stoll said.
And after a week full of support and fun for the players, the hosts ultimately came out on top to claim the championship.
It took two efforts against the Apex Fire Department, but after dropping Sunday’s first contest 10-3, the Holly Springs Fire Department came out on top in the second game with a 15-5 final score.