The Lexington, South Carolina Blowfish stadium is usually filled with black, white and blue shirts and ball caps as local area baseball enthusiasts fill the stadium, but on June 22 the seats were filled by a sea of Army Combat Uniforms.Fort Jackson Soldiers were the guests of honor as the Blowfish took on the Florence Redwolves."Let's play ball," shouted Col. Douglas Walter, Army Training Center and Fort Jackson deputy commanding officer, from home plate.Walter represented the installation by throwing the first pitch of the game and announcing the start of the game. Accompanying Walter were roughly 450 trainees from 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment and their cadre. The trainees, set to graduate today, were treated to the game, honored for their service to the nation and invited to take part in some on-field games and performances of their own.Spc. Joel Morris and Spc. Kristopher Norwood led a thunderous Soldiers Creed at home plate in the middle of the second inning that could be heard from about a mile away. Spc. Matthew Latschar, Pfc. Bryan Spencer and Pvt. Tristan Crosby volunteered to showcase their speed as they sprinted after Blowfish staff dressed as The Three Little Pigs around the diamond in attempt to catch them.
While the trainees didn't catch the agile pigs, they came closer than most before them. Trainees in the stands performed the wave and bounced giant beach balls around the stadium."I've always enjoyed baseball," said Pvt. Isahc Llewellyn. "It's a great day to be out here and I'm glad to be here."Llewellyn, like most of his battle buddies, had an opportunity to enjoy the various food and drinks available at the game that included soda, snow cones, pizza and the stadium's notorious donut burger, a gut-busting double burger whose bun is replaced with two glazed donuts. Trainees also tested their skill at speed ball. They lined up to throw three baseballs to see who could beat the fastest pitch of the night, 66 miles per hour.To help celebrate the Army's 244th Birthday, a table was set with a birthday cake just in front of home plate at the end of the third inning. Walter, accompanied by Spc. Thary Bin, the battalion's oldest at 39, and Pvt. Brent Osborn, the youngest at 17, cut the cake with a non-commissioned officer's saber as the attendees and players sang Happy Birthday."I thinks it's great," Walter said. "Anytime I can get out to the stadium, I love it."As the game came to a close, the Redwolves emerged the victors with a final score of 10 to 1. While the Blowfish may have been defeated, the game was celebrated with a fireworks display set to music from the animated Toy Story movie series. The trainees boarded the busses to make the trek back to Fort Jackson for a good night's sleep before they begin preparing for their graduation.