Winterberry Park hosts second-year softball rivalry March 3 on Marco Island

Hunter gave the fire department fair warning he's 'coming to play' in the inter-department softball game. A capacity crowd with full of dignitaries and law enforcement officials turned out to watch former Collier County Sheriff Don Hunter sworn in as Marco Island's new police chief at the MIPD headquarters on a rainy Monday. Lance Shearer/Special to the Eagle

Photo by LANCE SHEARER

Hunter gave the fire department fair warning he's "coming to play" in the inter-department softball game. A capacity crowd with full of dignitaries and law enforcement officials turned out to watch former Collier County Sheriff Don Hunter sworn in as Marco Island's new police chief at the MIPD headquarters on a rainy Monday. Lance Shearer/Special to the Eagle

— It may not be as longstanding as the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, but on Saturday, a clash of equal proportion will unfold at Marco Island’s Winterberry Park.

Two powerhouse teams, Marco’s Bravest (Fire-Rescue Department) and Marco’s Finest (Police Department), will compete for the second-year title, coveted trophy, and of course, bragging rights. Marco Island’s Fire-Rescue Department clinched the win in an inaugural match-up last season by a score of 22-9.

“In an effort to more evenly match the teams for the 2012 matchup, I have placed the fire department on a mandatory regimen of no exercise and three doughnuts a day,” said Marco Island’s Fire Chief Mike Murphy.

Murphy said his major concern is rumors that a fix might be in by first-year Marco Island Police Chief Don Hunter.

“Although we are looking forward to the game and see no problem with winning, we are concerned that Chief Hunter may have temporarily laid off six police officers and hired six actual softball players to replace them.”

Hunter denied the rumor saying play by his department will be on the up-and-up.

“All we have are former football players,” he said. “Taking the bases will be no problem, if we can hit OK. I’d like to see them stop us.”

After receiving a full report of last year’s game, Hunter said he does have a few reservations about taking the field.

“This is the first time (for me),” Hunter said. “I just hope I don’t injure myself too badly.”

Game time for the Bravest vs. Finest is 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, at Winterberry Park, 1660 Winterberry Drive. The matchup will be preceded by the music of Marco Island’s Charter Middle School Jazz Band at 11 a.m. and a Cal Ripken League two-inning home run contest at 12 p.m.

The two sponsoring groups, the Marco Island Police Foundation and Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation, will be selling freshly cooked hot dogs, hamburgers and bratwursts with beer, soda and water. Popcorn will be offered at no charge. Police department fans are asked to wear blue and fire department fans should wear red.

Game T-shirts can be purchased at the game to help support the two foundations. Admission to the event is free and free parking is available.

“No matter what the outcome of the game, it is a wonderful community event put on by two worthy foundations,” Murphy said.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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