This weekend baseball fans will have a chance to fill the seats at Grainger Stadium and watch two teams play ball with a patriotic twist.
Baseball teams from the US Naval Academy and the US Air Force Academy meet up for the series, which takes place Feb. 24-26.
“It’s hard to believe this is our seventh one but we just looking for beautiful good weather and for people to come out and enjoy baseball before the Wood Ducks start,” Parks and Recreation director Bill Ellis said.
The games will be played Feb. 24 at 6 p.m., Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. and Feb 26 at 12:30 p.m.
Throughout the weekend the Air Force Academy and The Naval Academy are competing in the Freedom Classic tournament fans will be treated to an opening ceremony 30 minutes before each game.
“We will have someone sing the national anthem and while they are singing volunteers will carry a huge flag that was given to us by Woodmen Life. It really gets the players and fans pumped,” Yolanda Munoz, program recreation supervisor, said.
It takes 60 or more volunteers to transport the flag onto the field.
Aside from the opening ceremony, the tournament has a few different promotions.
At Friday night’s game students will get in for free and fans will enjoy fireworks following the game. Saturday and Sunday fans will get to watch troops jump out of planes and a military fly over.
“Saturday is probably the most eventful ceremony,” Munoz said. “We will also have some F-15E fly over Saturday and Sunday by a group from Seymour Johnson Air Force base.”
Saturday morning, both teams will be putting on a camp for local youth to help teach them the fundamentals of baseball.
“Registration for the baseball camp is from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. or they can register with Parks and Recreation,” Scott Alston, a recreation department official, said.
Those interested in volunteering to help with the flag will be granted entrance to the game of their choice without charge, according to Adrian King. To volunteer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, email address and phone number indicating which game they plan to volunteer.
Besides playing baseball, while in town the two teams will visit The James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center in Greeneville and the N.C. Veterans Home on Friday morning.
“The coaches really like for the players to volunteer while they are here,” Munoz said.
Tickets for the event are still available and can be purchased at the game. Tickets are $10 for a Tournament Pass, good through the whole weekend. Single game tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students, seniors, veterans and retired military. Active duty military get in free.