The score of course was not important.
What mattered was the joining of two police forces onto one field for one purpose — to remember brethren who died in the line of duty.
For the 36th year in a row New Canaan Police and Darien Police played each other in a softball game in honor of Darien Ofc. Ken Bateman who was shot and killed responding to a burglary in Darien on May 31, 1981. Ten years later, on July 23, 1991, New Canaan Ofc. Jim Martin died from electrocution as he was out in wet streets trying to keep the community safe during a storm when he came into contact with a downed wire. From that year on, the softball game has been a joint memorial. This year it was played in New Canaan at Mead Park on Thursday Sept. 21.
Police and judicial officials believe that the only person of interest in Bateman’s 34-year unsolved murder, Anthony Sabato, was involved in the shooting. Sabato remains in prison after being sentenced in 2015 to more than 13 years for drug trafficking. Darien retired Police Chief Hugh McManus said on the sidelines at this year’s game that he believes that another person involved in the Bateman murder has died.
The game was marked by long fly balls, hard hit grounders, good pitching, and some sparkling defensive plays by the male and female officers who rotated in and out of the game. The weather was warm, and family and friends and other passers-by enjoyed watching the sport, the camaraderie, and the mutual respect among the officers who often provide mutual aid to other other throughout the years.
Darien scored nine runs. New Canaan two.
All photos Dave Stewart.