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10th Annual FBI-Strawberry Mansion Softball Game

Strawberry Mansion community members and the Philadelphia division of the FBI sat side by side on Tuesday, August 30, tying their cleats for the 10th annual “Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence” softball game.

Derrick Ford, a social worker from Strawberry Mansion and one of the organizers for the event explained that the game wasn’t about winning, but about bringing the community together.

Strawberry Mansion All-Star Baseball League huddles together before hitting the field on Tuesday, August 30, 2016./Kaitlyn Moore

Strawberry Mansion All-Star Baseball League huddles together before hitting the field on Tuesday, August 30, 2016./Kaitlyn Moore

“The media perpetuates what is happening with the multitude of cops killing african american kids. And we are trying to the kill the stigma of how these inner-city kids view law enforcement.”

Families and children lined the field, looking on as their coaches, parents, and family friends played with members of the FBI.

Jahmarr Gardner, right, and Naji Reid Lawrence Lewis look on during the softball game in support of their friend Alex, the pitcher on Strawberry Mansion’s team./Kaitlyn Moore

Jahmarr Gardner, right, and Naji Reid Lawrence Lewis look on during the softball game in support of their friend Alex, the pitcher on Strawberry Mansion’s team./Kaitlyn Moore

“Its an opportunity for kids to be up close and personal with law enforcement, and realize it’s okay to be an officer,” Ford explained.

The crowd grew heated, cheering and laughing as the plays became more intense. The FBI ended up taking the win 18-11, but Special Agent Bill Sweeney remarked, “If you ask me, it was a win-win on both sides.”

Strawberry Mansion teammate, Brandon Mundy looks on at his hit during the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game. /Kaitlyn Moore

Strawberry Mansion teammate, Brandon Mundy looks on at his hit during the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game. /Kaitlyn Moore

After the game, the two teams lined to shake hands and pose for a photo to commemorate the day. A teammate from the FBI, Daron said, “They get to interact with us and see a different side of us. And sometimes in the job we lose sight of the human aspect of the people we investigate. This helps shed light on that.”

Strawberry Mansion teammate, Ebony Williams, right, shares a laugh with FBI catcher during the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game. /Kaitlyn Moore

Strawberry Mansion teammate, Ebony Williams, right, shares a laugh with FBI catcher during the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game. /Kaitlyn Moore

Tonetta Graham, steps up to plate in support of Strawberry Mansion on August 30, 2016./Kaitlyn Moore

Tonetta Graham, steps up to plate in support of Strawberry Mansion on August 30, 2016./Kaitlyn Moore

Philadelphia Division of the FBI player, Janelle Miller, makes a catch during the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game. /Kaitlyn Moore

Philadelphia Division of the FBI player, Janelle Miller, makes a catch during the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game. /Kaitlyn Moore

FBI player, Daron, runs for third base during the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game. /Kaitlyn Moore

FBI player, Daron, runs for third base during the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game. /Kaitlyn Moore

Brandon Mundy makes it safely to third base during the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game. /Kaitlyn Moore

Brandon Mundy makes it safely to third base during the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game. /Kaitlyn Moore

Tonetta Graham enjoys the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game./Kaitlyn Moore

Tonetta Graham enjoys the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game./Kaitlyn Moore

Umpire and FBI team player share a moment after the game on August 30, 2016./Kaitlyn Moore

Umpire and FBI team player share a moment after the game on August 30, 2016./Kaitlyn Moore

Organizers, players, family members, and both teams pose for a photo after an afternoon of baseball at the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game. /Kaitlyn Moore

Organizers, players, family members, and both teams pose for a photo after an afternoon of baseball at the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate: Strike Out Violence softball game. /Kaitlyn Moore