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Local baseball team raises $11k for veterans
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U.S. Army Sgt. T.J. Anderson slides into home plate during a whiffle ball game with the 9U baseball players at the Win for the Warriors baseball tournament at Veterans Memorial Park March 10. - photo by Jessica Taylor

On Sunday morning, the soaked baseball fields at Rock Creek Park threw a wrench into the inaugural Win for the Warriors baseball tournament, but that didn’t stop the North Georgia Ambush 9U team from raising more than $11,000 to support the For The Warriors Foundation.

The coaches and volunteers arrived at Rock Creek Park at 7 a.m. March 10 and quickly realized the fields would be too wet to play any games. Ultimately the tournament was postponed for a later date in April or May.

Organizers worked to relocate the festivities inside the gym at Veterans Memorial Park so that they could continue with the ceremony to honor military service veterans.

“It’s been a day of contacting everyone and trying to figure out what we can do best just to make this work,” North Georgia Ambush coach Chris Marcotte said. “You live, you learn. This is our first annual so (we’ll) probably push this later into the summer next time.”

The Win for the Warriors tournament was organized by volunteer Kimberly Maloney as a way to raise money for the For The Warriors Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to assist disabled military service members as they integrate back into society and attempt to live a rewarding, fulfilling and productive life.

Each member of the Ambush team was assigned a wounded veteran with whom they had corresponded prior to the tournament. The players honored their veterans by wearing the veteran’s name on their jersey in place of their own.

Though a day-long tournament between several teams was scheduled, the assembled players and veterans made the best of the weather and decided to play whiffle ball indoors, giving the participants a chance to come together and have fun.

“At this point it doesn’t really matter whether we play or not,” Head Coach Blake Dotson said. “We did what we were trying to do which was to raise money for the foundation.”

After an opening ceremony and a few rounds of whiffle ball, the team presented the veterans of the foundation a check for $11,716.58.

 “The best part was we actually connected a majority of the boys with their veteran today, their warrior, and they’ve got lifelong partners that can call them and go to their karate belt promotions, baseball games,” Dotson said. 

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United States Army Sgt. Samuel Walley threw the ceremonial first pitch at the first annual Win for the Warriors baseball tournament March 10. Walley, a Winder native, was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and was injured by an IED in Afghanistan. He is currently attending college and helping other veterans who struggle daily. - photo by Jessica Taylor
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North Georgia Ambush 9U Junior Coach Kirk Dotson catches the first pitch as the Win for the Warriors tournament March 10. Dotson caught the first pitch in honor and memory of Lance Corporal Chase Comley of the United States Marines. Comley was a member of the Marine Bravo Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Vehicle Battalion and was killed in action Aug. 6, 2005 while deployed in Iraq. - photo by Jessica Taylor
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The JROTC cadets from Dawson County High School present the colors during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Win for the Warriors baseball tournament March 10. - photo by Jessica Taylor
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President of For The Warriors Foundation Lt. Colonel Dave Gordon, Hudson Jalutkewicz, U.S. Air Force Medically Retired Security Police Jim Beillfuss III, Trevor Hart, U.S. Army Specialist Paul Van Drie and Zeke Dotson salute the flag during the national anthem at the Win for the Warriors tournament March 10. - photo by Jessica Taylor
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Sgt. T.J. Anderson, Corporal Sean Adams, Ambush player Benn Tippins, Master Sgt. Danny Dickey and Ambush player Sam Stancil salute the flag during the playing of the national anthem at the opening ceremony of the Win for the Warriors tournament March 10. - photo by Jessica Taylor
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U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Young jokes with members of the North Georgia Ambush 9U baseball team while on second base during a round of whiffle ball during the Win for the Warriors baseball tournament March 10. The weather caused the baseball tournament to be postponed, however the players and veterans enjoyed playing whiffle ball together inside the Veterans Memorial Park gym as their back up plan. The baseball tournament will be rescheduled for a later date. - photo by Jessica Taylor
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Baseball teams from across north Georgia came out to support the inaugural Win for the Warriors baseball tournament hosted by the North Georgia Ambush team of Dawsonville March 10. Despite rainy weather putting a damper on the tournament, baseball enthusiasts gathered at the Veterans Memorial Park gym to celebrate the veterans with a few games of whiffle ball. - photo by Jessica Taylor
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U.S. Air Force Medically Retired Security Police Jim Beillfuss III steps up to the plate during a game of indoor whiffle ball at Veterans Memorial Park during the Win for the Warriors tournament March 10. Beillfuss is a gold medal wheelchair athlete and is actively involved in the Veterans Adaptive Sports Program which promotes rehabilitation of disabled military service veterans through sports. - photo by Jessica Taylor
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U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Young fixes to step up to home plate during a whiffle ball game March 10. After the Win for the Warriors baseball tournament was rained out, organizers reconvened inside the gym at Veterans Memorial Park for an opening ceremony and whiffle ball games to honor the For The Warriors Foundation veterans. The baseball tournament will be rescheduled at a later date. - photo by Jessica Taylor
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Master Sgt. Danny Dickey pitches during an indoor game of whiffle ball at the inaugural Win for the Warriors baseball tournament March 10. Dickey is retired from the U.S. Army, having served 22 years active duty and four years in the reserves. He is a decorated airborne ranger who did 11 combat deployments. - photo by Jessica Taylor
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U.S. Army Sgt. T.J. Anderson slides into third during a whiffle ball game with the 9U baseball players at the Win for the Warriors tournament at Veterans Memorial Park March 10. - photo by Jessica Taylor
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