Fire chiefs drub mayors in 2nd ‘Battle of the Burbs’ softball game
By Evan F. Moore Correspondent July 21, 2014 6:22PM
Nick Lorenz with the color guard (VFW Post 2580 and American Legion 691 of Midlothian) | Supplied photo
Updated: August 23, 2014 6:26AM
Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta thought it would be great for his community to see elected officials and public servants working together for a great cause.
Softball and charity were the two things he used to make this possible.
“I thought it would be kind of fun to get the mayors together and play with fire chiefs,” Presta said. “We’re trying to work with all of the towns. It’s good publicity.”
The second annual “Battle in the Burbs” took place in Crestwood’s Standard Bank Stadium on Sunday night. The Battle in the Burbs is a seven-inning softball game that pits south suburban police and fire chiefs — Team Gunsmoke — against a team of Southland mayors and members of various departments, the Big Hitters.
Gunsmoke bested the Big Hitters, 19-8.
Lynwood Police detective Larry Weinbrecht participated in last year’s game.
“Obviously, this is for a great cause,” Weinbrecht said. “To play against the mayors is a lot of fun.”
Weinbrecht also said that the police and fire team wants bragging rights.
“If you know the mayors, there’s going to be some gamesmanship. You have to rub it in a little bit. If they win, I expect to hear about it all year until next year.”
Jesse Reyes, Justice of the Appellate Court’s 1st district, was one of the umpires in Sunday night’s game. He said that being a part of an event like this was a no brainer.
Tom Styczynski, chief of the Alsip Fire Department, echoed Reyes’ sentiments.
“This gets everyone to the ballpark,” Styczynski said. “Everyone comes together for a nice event like this. Charity makes it happen.”
Palos Hills Mayor and President of the Southwest Conference of Mayors Gerald Bennett gave Presta all the credit for coming up with the idea for the event.
“Many of us are old, South Side 16-inch softball players,” Bennett said. “The idea of playing the police and the first chief was a great idea. Especially raising money for the Special Olympics.”
All proceeds from the game will benefit the Special Olympics as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Illinois. The proceeds will be divided among the participating towns and villages, with the stipulation that they go to benefit Special Olympics.
Also, the Battle in the Burbs brings Southland community leaders together in an effort to share ideas and foster cooperation between first responders and political leadership.
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/battleintheburbs.