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The James Clemens baseball team hosted First Responders Night where the Jets recognized the police and fire departments of both Madison and Huntsville for their dedication to serving the community in a recent home game. Photo Contributed

James Clemens Baseball Host First Responders Night

MADISON- The James Clemens baseball program reached out to the area’s first responders in an effort to express its appreciation for the loyal and courageous work the men and women of those professional organizations first on the scene of an array of emergencies. The efforts to show the first responders are thanked for their work came in the form of the Jets hosting First Responders Night for a James Clemens home game.

“We had a larger crowd than normal in attendance for the special evening as any time we can show our appreciation to the professionals in the area of first responders it’s great for community,” said Johnny Johnson, head coach of James Clemens. “Special events like this is a great reminder to our players that others like first responders is bigger than the game.”

Representatives from both Madison and Huntsville police and fire departments were on hand for the festivities, which included each organization have a chosen member of their group to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. Each first responder was presented a special developed card of thanks from the players and coaches. In addition to those events, a moment of silence was held after the playing of the national anthem for those fallen first responders.

Each police and fire departments attended with police cars, fire trucks and SUV service vehicles, which were parked along the road near the newly renovated baseball facility, and once the game got underway many of those attending first responders watched from outside their vehicles or sat on the nearby grass field.

As for the game, the Jets hosted the Huntsville Panthers and was down to the visiting Panthers 8-4 going into the home portion of the last inning. With an enormous last-inning comeback, including the winning run scored on a passed ball, James Clemens defeated Huntsville 9-8. The deciding score came with the bases loaded and Joe Lach at the plate. A pitch from the Panthers was low and outside, but the catcher was unable to catch the ball allowing Jackson Hellums to race across home plate from third base for the victory. The win moved the Jets to 16-8 and a No. 7 Class 7A state ranking.

“We’ve had two late-inning games with Huntsville and won both,” said Johnson. “As for our First Responders Night, there was a lot of emotion all the way around. Our players saw first-hand life is bigger than baseball.”

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