By Connie Leinbach
“It was awesome,” said Adam Burleson, the Ocracoke School girls’ basketball coach said Friday evening after the “coaches” pulled out a one-point win over the “cops” in a rousing fundraising softball game at Community Park.
In a high-scoring game, the coaches beat the cops 23 to 22. At least 200 community members attended this game to raise funds for the school’s field day in May.
“There was a lot of community support,” Burleson, who conceived of the idea, after the game. He said they may have a rematch in May when the weather is a bit better. While Friday was dry, the high winds that have been buffeting the island for the last several days, made for challenging conditions.
The coaches consisted of school and Little League coaches while the cops were island law enforcement or emergency services officers and a few high school players to round out their numbers.
Tommy Hutcherson, proprietor of the Variety Store, announced the players at bat and provided sound effects, such as sirens and music, while the adults and kids watching cheered the players on.
School art teacher and cross country coach Kitty Mitchell made one at-bat appearance, and later in the game pranced about like a cheerleader.
The coaches started out strong, making a lot of hits and gaining a lot of bases. They were 15-3 after a few innings, and it looked to be a rout until the cops started gaining some runs.
After the “fifth-inning stretch” of the seven-inning game, the cops rallied to close the run gap and almost tie the game.
Ed Fuller, Ocracoke’s chief ranger, hit two over-the-fence home runs for the cops.
Some of the coaches acknowledged they may have had more practice before the game.
“I had the benefit of working with the middle school kids,” said Bill Cole, one of the coaches. “It was too much fun,” he said about the game.
The teams were as follows:
Cops: Ed Fuller, Corey Cutright, Shane Bryan, Matt Stitterson, William Boyd, Rob King, Jason Daniels, Blackburn Warner, Sandy Yeatts, Logan Jenkins, Carson O’Neal and Spencer Gaskins
Coaches: Walt Padgett, Charles Temple, Dave Allewalt, David Scott Esham, Denny Widener, Bill Cole, John Kattenburg , Brian Samick, Kitty Mitchell, Mary McKnight, Tyler Gilbert, Jason Wells, Ernie Doshier and Vince O’Neal.