• Sgt. Michael Maki, an infantryman with 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, throws the first pitch April 26 during Kansas State University's Military Appreciation Night game against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs.

    Sgt. Michael Maki, an infantryman with 2nd...

    Sgt. Michael Maki, an infantryman with 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, throws the first pitch April 26 during Kansas State University's Military Appreciation Night game against the Texas...

  • Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division stand side by side with players from the Kansas State University baseball team during the national anthem April 26 prior to the Wildcats Military Appreciation Night game against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs.

    Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry...

    Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division stand side by side with players from the Kansas State University baseball team during the national anthem April 26 prior to the Wildcats...

  • Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division stand side by side with players from the Kansas State University baseball team during the national anthem April 26 prior to the Wildcats Military Appreciation Night game against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs.

    Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry...

    Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division stand side by side with players from the Kansas State University baseball team during the national anthem April 26 prior to the Wildcats...

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- The Kansas State University Wildcat baseball team welcomed men and women in uniform during its Military Appreciation Night on April 26 at Frank Meyers Field. Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, filled the stands and were recognized on the baseball field alongside the KSU baseball players during the national anthem.

"I think it's great for the ball players to realize that they've been given a great opportunity to be playing baseball while our troops are serving overseas," said Colleen Conlon, the mother of player Shane Conlon, No. 15.

The members of the "Rangers" battalion have been community partners with the Wildcat's baseball team for more than two years with both sides attending events such as KSU baseball games and battalion physical training sessions.

"I think it's great that they partner up with them," Conlon added. "It's great that our kids realize that they are able do what they are able to do because of what the soldiers do."

During the April 26 game opener, the Wildcats invited Sgt. Michael Maki, an infantryman with the "Rangers" battalion, to throw the first pitch. He was optimistic about the partnership that is shared between the "Rangers" and the Wildcats.

"It's great to see," Maki said. "You always hear about misunderstandings between the Soldiers and students in Aggieville. It's good to see that we can all be happy under one roof enjoying America's past time."

Maki has been recovering from injuries received while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan with the "Dragon" Brigade. The last few months of recovery have not been easy for Maki, but he said he remained optimistic about the future.

"To survive something like being wounded, come out here and hang out with my guys -- it's good to be up to the level where I can actually have some fun," Maki said. "I really hope that people come away … thinking, 'Hey, maybe we really can get along and share the things we have in common, like baseball.'"

Page last updated Mon April 29th, 2013 at 00:00