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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : sports : local May 22, 2015

7/5/2013 6:02:00 AM
Fallen Hotshot's friends organizing 19-inning baseball game Friday in Chino
Steve Stockmar/The Daily CourierMourners displayed a jersey in honor of Wade Parker at the memorial outside the Granite Mountain Hotshots' station in Prescott this week.
Steve Stockmar/The Daily Courier
Mourners displayed a jersey in honor of Wade Parker at the memorial outside the Granite Mountain Hotshots' station in Prescott this week.
Courier fileWade Parker (4)  rolls into second base for a stand-up double at the Chino Valley High School baseball field back on March 4, 2008.
Courier file
Wade Parker (4) rolls into second base for a stand-up double at the Chino Valley High School baseball field back on March 4, 2008.
Steve Stockmar
Sports Editor

There are many ways to deal with grief. Playing an epic baseball game is at the top of the list for many this Friday in Chino Valley.

As the healing process continues to unfold from Sunday's tragic loss of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots in the Yarnell Hill fire, friends and ex-teammates of one of those lost - Wade Parker - have organized a memorial pick-up baseball game on the Chino Valley High School field.

But not just any game. In honor of the 19 Prescott Fire Department firefighters lost, the players assembling today - including Parker's dad, Danny, and his younger brother, D.J. - will play a 19-inning game on the field on which Wade distinguished himself as a high school player.

"I woke up Monday morning and it was almost like someone whispering in my ear or something," Parker's lifelong friend, Dylan Tucker, said Thursday on how the idea for the game developed.

"Wade loved to play baseball, so I figured we'd have a day of baseball with some of the old guys that we played with.

"A day of remembrance and a day of baseball for Wade Parker."

Festivities kick off at 10 a.m. Friday at the Pratt-Nesbitt baseball field on the CVHS campus (760 E. Center St., Chino Valley). The event will begin with some honors and introductions, including a prayer out at the shortstop spot, which was Parker's position through 2009. That year, as a senior, Parker had one of his best seasons, batting .450 with 26 RBIs, 38 runs scored, and a team-high 20 stolen bases.

The game is expected to get under way around 10:30 a.m.

Word of the game has spread around town the last couple of days.

"I had expected maybe 200 people at first," an emotional Tucker, 21, said. "Then 200 went to 500. And 500 now has gone to what we think might be over 1,000."

Of course, with a 19-inning game, plenty of players will be needed. Tucker is expecting close to 50 players to take the field, and the rosters will mix up lineups to spread the players evenly.

Batters will start with a 2-1 count to speed things up.

Donated hot dogs, burgers, chips, sodas, water and ice have poured in from the likes of Chino Valley Safeway, the Liquor Barn, Olsen's Grain, Blue Hills Café, and the Skinner family. The Chino Valley Fire Department will bring in a huge grill to cook the goodies for the fans in the stands all day long, and Chino Rentals is donating canopies to provide shade.

Donations to benefit the firefighters' families will be accepted at the front gate.

"It'll be a nice long day of baseball," Tucker added.

"I knew Wade real well. If it was any one of us, he'd have been the first one to say, 'Let's go play some baseball.'"

Party in the Pines PAYP
Related Stories:
• Chino Valley comes together for Hotshots with epic baseball game
• Friends, family share stories of Prescott's fallen hotshots
• Two of the 19 firefighters killed, in much happier times, gave us great moments on sports fields

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