Jimmy Daniels, a 92-year-old World War II veteran, took the ball and fired in a strike to kick off the special Veterans Day softball game on Wednesday night at McCombs Field.
The event featured the Sun City Veterans, a team of retired armed forces members, pairing up with the Texas softball team in a split-squad, slow-pitch style contest.
Gary Dennett, a member of the National Guard from 1958-1989, got the start for the red-clad Stripes. Opposite of Dennett was Shirley Harmes, a member of the Coast Guard from 1978-1993, who got an inning of work for the blue-clad Stars, who downed the Stripes, 9-7.
“Tonight was more than about the outcomes on the field. It was incredible to share the field with a very special group of veterans,” head coach Connie Clark said.
The Longhorns, split between the two teams of veterans, had a field day at the plate, belting five homers on the evening. Clark said the team enjoyed sharing the field with the veterans.
“You know, you get some through the game that come up and say this is the first time we’ve been celebrated in a long time,” Clark said. “To hear that is amazing, but it just shows that a little thing can be big for them.”
The game marked the end of Texas’ fall schedule. The Longhorns only suffered one loss in the fall, losing 6-0 to Texas State on Nov. 6. Texas now looks to prepare for the spring, which kicks off in February.
Clark said Wednesday’s contest was a great way to end the fall.
“They have big world experience and to be able to let our athletes hear from them is a win-win,” Clark said.