Bearcat baseball to host Military Appreciation Night

Published 4:33 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Bainbridge has a strong history of showing its appreciation for active duty military and veterans who have put their life on the line to protect our country, our state and our city.

That history will continue next Wednesday, April 12, when Bainbridge will combine military appreciation and America’s greatest pastime, baseball, at the Bearcat Diamonds for an evening dedicated to our country’s heroes.

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Military Appreciation Night, sponsored by The Post-Searchlight, will occur during the Bearcats’ baseball game against Tift County at 5:30 p.m. Anyone who has served, current or former, is invited to the game free of admission and will be honored on the field before the first pitch.

“We just want to make sure we honor them, and our kids understand what people have sacrificed in our country to give us the lifestyle we have here,” coach Brian McCorkle said. “I can’t think of a better way to honor the people who have sacrificed so much to give us these things. It’s an opportunity to say thank you for what they have done.”

The evening’s guest of honor, retired Lt. Col. John E. Davis, will address the Bearcat team before the game and throw the first pitch to kick off the event.

A native of Ambrose, Georgia, Davis has 25 years of military service. He was the battalion operations officer for the 648th engineer battalion 48th brigade company team with the Georgia Army National Guard during deployment to Iraq in 2005-06.

Davis is also a recipient of the Bronze Star, a medal awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces for heroic service or achievement in a combat zone.

“I am looking forward to him speaking to our team,” McCorkle said. “As a veteran, he has earned the right to share what he has learned, and I am honored he is taking the time to come and speak to our kids.”

The idea for a military appreciation night came from Bearcat Dugout Club member Keith Lyle, who was inspired by the Braves vs. Marlins game at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, last year.

“That got me thinking about it,” Lyle said. “I said, ‘What could we do locally to honor our veterans with a baseball game?’…It would be nice if we could do something like that in Bainbridge.”

Bearcat players will wear special camouflage caps to commemorate the event.

The Bearcat Diamonds are located on the Bainbridge High School campus at 1 Bearcat Blvd. off Highway 84 East.

Al Kelley, executive director of the Bainbridge-Decatur County Recreation Authority, will be directing people in active duty and veterans before the game. Directions will also be provided on the public address system prior to the game.