About a dozen Troutman Police Department officers joined kids from age 6 to high school and a few parents for a fun community event on Saturday evening at the baseball field complex at ESC Park.

After a welcome by Chief Josh Watson, about 20 kids and four officers divided into two teams and hit the field, playing by sandlot rules — no catcher, same officer pitching for both sides, no steals or playing off base, three strikes per hitter, and three outs per team at-bat.

Parents enjoying the shade of tents and on-duty officers cheered on the two teams, which grew larger as latecomers joined in the fun of America’s favorite summer pastime.

The friendly competition elicited laughs, calls of encouragement, and good-natured teasing, creating a fun evening for officers and community members.

To cool off from the blazing sun, players and fans enjoyed the Kona Ice truck’s frozen treats.

Watson said that after he and his family watched “The Sandlot” movie, he was inspired to create a similar opportunity for the community’s kids.

“It made me remember how kids would just get together and play baseball for fun,” he said. “It was like the game never ends. Nobody was worried about winning. It was just for fun, just everybody getting together and making new friends.”

Watson hopes these types of events help bring the community and officers together. “It gives them a chance to come out and meet the officers in a different format when we are not in our full uniforms and on a call,” he said.

Another sandlot game is scheduled for Saturday, August 13, at 6 p.m. at the ESC Park baseball fields.

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