KEIZER -- Don't be surprised to see Polk County Commissioner Mike Ainsworth tossing a baseball around this week.
He's one of four Polk County citizens set to throw out a ceremonial "first pitch" at Thursday's minor-league baseball matchup between the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and visiting Spokane.
The short-season Class A contest has been dubbed "City of Dallas Appreciation Night," allowing residents of Dallas and all of Polk County entry to the game for just $5.
"Last year, I told (Central High Athletic Director) Shane Hedrick, `Give me a baseball, I'm going to play catch in the backyard with my wife to make sure I get it to the plate,'" Ainsworth said with a laugh of last year's appreciation night, geared toward Independence.
Did the practice pay off?
"Yeah, I got it there without a bounce or anything," Ainsworth said.
Dallas mayor Brian Dalton, Dallas Police Detective Lt. Rob Hatchell and Dallas firefighter Al Champ will throw out the other ceremonial pitches in a night dedicated to the county.
"Everything will be about Dallas and Polk County," Salem-Keizer's senior account executive Jerry Howard said. "It's just an opportunity where we can thank the Dallas and Polk County folks for supporting the Volcanoes and we can feature Polk County personnel -- it's nice to have them out."
The Volcanoes rotate different city appreciation nights every season, this year honoring Albany, Stayton and Keizer, along with Dallas.
"I think it's great," Ainsworth said. "It's always nice to have Polk County in the headlines for something like that, and the Volcanoes have been very good to and supportive of our community. It's a good night to get out there with other folks in the county when they're not at work and just enjoy each other in a different light -- it's fun."
Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the game is set to start at 6:35 p.m.
For more information: www.volcanoesbaseball.com.
CITY OF DALLAS APPRECIATION NIGHT
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes vs. Spokane Indians Single A baseball game.
6:35 p.m. Thursday; gates open at 5:30.
Volcanoes Stadium, 6700 Field of Dreams Way NE, Keizer.
$5 for Dallas and Polk County residents (with proof of residency).
For more information:
Jerry Howard, firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-779-4088.