Vets honored before night game
For Memorial Day, the JUCO Committee honored several veterans prior to Monday night’s game between Neosho County (Kan.) Community College and San Jacinto (Texas) College-North.
Emanuel Planas, 90, a resident of the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Hospital, was recognized individually. He served in World War II and the Battle of the Bulge in Holland, earning two silver medals, two bronze medals and three purple hearts. He is one of four Americans to receive the Croix de Guerre Avec Palme award given by Belgium for bravery. One of the other three is General George S. Patton.
Planas, who is deaf, released the first of 100 white doves during the pregame festivities behind home plate. When the dove’s cage was opened it didn’t fly out immediately. Planas gave it a little nudge from behind to coax it out.
Army Staff Sgt. Matt McDonald threw out the first pitch. He has received three Army commendations, one Army Achievement medal, one Kuwait Liberation medal, three national defense ribbons and one Marine Corps good conduct medal.
Six members of the Fruitvale Lions Club, who take tickets at the tournament, are veterans and were recognized for their service: Modesto Galvan, Harold Cooper, George Goetz, William Conklin, Dominic Martellaro and Thomas Tadvick. A seventh member, John Williams, passed away three weeks ago.
■ Glove give-away: Grand Junction 11-year-old Ashleigh Satterfield was one of six people to win a custom-made Rawlings baseball glove Monday at the JUCO World Series.
Satterfield was hanging out with her friends underneath the stands when her ticket number was called during Monday afternoon’s game to receive the free glove.
“My grandma came down and told me I won,” Satterfield said. “I was surprised.”
As was Satterfield’s grandmother, Dana Palmer.
“I pulled out the tickets when they announced it,” Palmer said. “Oh my God, they just called this number.”
Although they were caught off-guard by the announcement, winning the glove couldn’t have been better.
“I needed a new glove,” Satterfield said. “My old was one getting small.”
Satterfield plays softball in the Grand Mesa Little League.
This is the third year Rawlings has been present at the JUCO World Series.
■ Western Slope Hospitality: Family, fans and administrators of first-time JUCO participant Polk State College from Winter Haven, Fla., had rave reviews for Grand Junction and the hospitality it has received since Saturday.
In particular, Karen Hindmon from Ocala, Fla., said she had a moment at the Horizon Drive Quality Inn that was “remarkable.” Hindmon said she was left behind before Jefferson (Mo.) College’s 9-5 win over Polk State College on Monday.
“Let’s just say I was forgotten,” she said.
But one of the hotel workers behind the front desk who heard Hindmon needed a ride to Suplizio Field drove Hindmon to the game in her personal SUV, Hindmon said.
“That was flat-out phenomenal” said Hindmon, seated in the first row on the first-base side. “That’s unheard of. I didn’t even ask her for a ride. Just a total stranger. Remarkable.”
Bing Tyus, athletic director at Polk State College, called Grand Junction and its residents “phenomenal.”
“I’ve never seen a city open their arms up like this town has,” Tyus said.
Added Tyus’ wife, Debbie: “The hotel was decorated, and there was a ‘Welcome, Polk State’ sign on the marquee,” she said. “We couldn’t have it any better here.”
■ Attendance: Monday night’s crowd, with the added draw of a postgame fireworks display, was 10,435 fans, bringing Monday’s three-game total to 21,689. Three days into the tournament, attendance stands at 53,497.