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Fort Sill Hosts Historic Baseball Game

FORT SILL, Okla._Despite the hot summer heat Saturday, a crowd was drawn to Fort Sill to enjoy America's favorite pastime during a historical game of baseball.

Just like they did years ago, a team of active duty officers and enlisted personnel squared off against a team of Native Americans.

The teams named the Fort Sill Cannonballs and the Fort Sill Indians headed to the historic grounds of the Fort Sill Quadrangle to play a game of baseball just as it was played in the 1860's.

It was a heated battle until the very end, and it wasn't just the 100 degree weather that caused it. The players on both teams put on the traditional uniform while giving spectators a chance to witness Fort Sill's rich history in motion.

"From the first time that I was stationed at Fort Sill, it was something that I wanted to do," said Fort Sill soldier Captain Hunter Gallacher.

Captain Gallacher said taking the field as a Fort Sill Cannonball was a special experience. One he describes as something he can check off his bucket list.

 "It is just unbelievable. The crowd being out here, the historical aspects of the game, playing in the style of the 1860s, it is just incredible," said Gallacher.

Captain Gallacher said it's something that takes him and his teammates back to the historical roots of the place they call home, Fort Sill.

"It brings you back to the historical past of them actually playing baseball here at Fort Sill," said Gallacher.

Fort Sill is where the first organized baseball games were played in Oklahoma.

And the Director of Museums for the F.I.R.E.S. Center, Frank Siltman, said baseball at Fort Sill began in an attempt to fight boredom.

"One of the first baseball games ever played here on Fort Sill was soon after it was established in 1869. George Custer and his soldiers were looking for something to do, something to pass the time in the 7th Cavalry, and he suggested the troops play a baseball game," said Siltman.

And Saturday's historical reenactment held special significance. One of the teams regularly played by the 7th Cavalry was Troop L, which was comprised of Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache Indians.

"Today's game shows the culmination of that relationship between the Native Americans and the U.S. Army that we carried up to today when we really bring back those times in the 1860s and 1870s when we first established the post," said Siltman.

And Saturday the Fort Sill Indians team included descendents of Troop L, the Native American troop that once served on post. They came together to play while also honoring their heritage.

"It's just great, a nice feeling to come out here and play with everybody," said the team's coach David Wermy.

And while Saturday's teams played with no gloves and rules and equipment from the 19th century, they were able to hit a home run by keeping the tradition alive.

"It replicates the games that they had here in the past, and the tradition that they have here at Fort Sill. I hope they continue it for a long time to come," said Gallacher.

The Fort Sill Indians ended up with the big win Saturday, but for all who played it was more about the experience and showing what Fort Sill was like in its earliest days.

Saturday marked the tenth year Fort Sill has hosted a historical reenactment of a 19th century baseball game.

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