BARTOW - The annual Bartow Fire-Bartow Police charity softball game May 10 at Bartow High School proved to be an entertaining way to raise a few bucks for the George Harris Youth Shelter.

The George W. Harris Jr. Runaway and Youth Crisis Shelter is a 24-bed facility for youth, ages 10-17, who have been abused, neglected, traumatized in some other way or who have runaway from their home.

The program also offers counseling and other services.

After the Bartow Fire Department “Fireballs” jumped out to a 5-0 lead, the Bartow Police Department “Badgers” rallied and took the lead 8-6 in the top of fifth inning. The Fireballs scored one run in the bottom of the fifth inning and another two runs in the bottom of the sixth.

The Badgers went three up, three down in their final at-bat and were defeated by a final score of 9-8.

Both teams had a handful of “ringers” — or non-department members who took the field.

“Due to being a small department of 20 members, we have to reach out for some ‘honorary members’ and family each year,” Bartow Police Chief Jay Robinson said.

For instance, Robinson’s daughters, Ashleigh and Bayli Robinson, both played well.

Other members of the Bartow Fire team included a member of the city’s IT department, a Summerlin Academy instructor and three others who work for the city’s fleet maintenance department.

In between innings, shelter representatives raffled off all sorts of goodies that were donated by the Bartow High Booster Club.

The Bartow Fire Department has won the annual charity game in each of its two playings.

To donate or learn more about the George W. Harris Jr. Runaway and Youth Crisis Shelter, please call 863-595-0220.

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