Partners in community -- Daleville salutes Fort Rucker Spartans
Daleville Senior Warhawks and Fort Rucker's 1st Bn., 223rd Avn. Regt. Spartans gather after their matchup May 22. Daleville beat their partnership unit's Soldiers 26-7.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Daleville Senior Warhawks offered their partnership unit, 1st Battalion, 223rd Aviation Regiment, some tough competition May 22 at Culpepper Field in Daleville.

The 'Hawks crushed the Spartans 26-7 during a baseball game as part of the city's salute to the Fort Rucker unit.

The last time the partnership communities competed against each other was in 2006, according to 1st Bn., 223rd Avn. Regt. Commander Lt. Col. Joseph Matthew.

"We have tight-knit community relationships. (This event builds) a community environment," he said. "It's been exciting to get out and practice (for the game)."

The Spartans started off the game's initial inning strong with three home runs. The Warhawks answered at the bottom of the first with two runs.

After that, however, Daleville earned the majority of its runs between the second and fifth innings, taking Fort Rucker by surprise.

The Spartans managed to slide in four more runs during the sixth and seventh innings, but couldn't surpass the Hawks' strong lead.

Warhawks coach Orson Bullard said it was teamwork and constant practice that gave his men the advantage.

"We have a lot of young players who play all the time. They have experience," he said.

However, winning wasn't everything to the Daleville team, who looks at Fort Rucker as more than just a neighbor.

"I call it one community. Everything (Fort Rucker) does affects us. We're proud of the way they serve for us," Bullard said.

'Hawks team captain and shortstop William Filmore said starting out early and strong led him and his teammates to victory.

"We had a positive attitude and came out here to have fun," he said. "We appreciate them being here."

Spartans coach David Cox said the inability to catch up after Daleville's massive lead prevented his group from getting ahead. The team was only recently assembled and he said he expects it to perform better next year.

"(It's good) as long as we make progress and we're having fun," Cox said.

Even though Fort Rucker's Aviators didn't take home the trophy, teammates agreed the event was worthwhile.

"We practiced hard. It was a fun game. It was good to intermingle with Daleville and give back to the community," said shortstop Eddie Cruz.

Even though they showed no mercy while on the field, Daleville held the event in the name of a good time and "to say thank you to the Spartans for what they do for us," said Mayor Wes Etheridge.

Post communities' interaction with Fort Rucker is integral to the Wiregrass' success, he said.

"Fort Rucker is our industry. If we didn't have Fort Rucker, Daleville and the area wouldn't be what it is," Etheridge said. "They're our livelihood and they protect our country."

He noted Daleville plans to continue the salute as an annual tradition.

Page last updated Thu May 27th, 2010 at 13:46