An enthusiastic and appreciative crowd gathered Sept. 10 at Riverbend Park for the first-ever Battle of the Badges benefit softball game, and when the dust had settled, “The Finest” of the Dalton Police Department had emerged with a 14-5 victory over “The Enforcers” of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office.

The nine-inning game – played with modified ASA rules where each batter started with a 1-1 count – wound up raising more than $5,030 for local charities, Shop with a Cop, Grace and Joy House, and Special Olympics.

“Thank you everyone for supporting the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office and the Dalton Police Department at the first annual Battle of the Badges Softball Game!” said Whitfield County’s Valeria Molina, who helped organize the event. “We are very lucky as a community to have great law enforcement agencies to serve us.”

Whitfield County’s Daylin Young opened the scoring with an inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the first inning, but Dalton pulled away to a 6-1 lead before The Enforcers came roaring back to close the gap to 6-5 in the seventh. The Finest put it away, however, with eight runs in the last two innings.

Afterwards, County Commission Chairman Jevin Jensen presented a trophy to the winning team, represented by City Administrator Andrew Parker, who handed it to David Saylors on behalf of the team. County Recreation Director Brian Chastain presented a plaque to the game’s Most Valuable Player, Jameson Mullinax.

Singing the National Anthem and “God Bless America” was Nashville recording artist Lee Newton, a North Carolina native who returned to Dalton as the opening act for Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers the next week, Sept. 16.

Tossing out the ceremonial first pitches were Bart Chandler, former Dalton Police Department officer, and Seth Cook, whose wife Tara, who worked for the Sheriff’s Office, passed away last year from COVID-19.

Members of the Dalton team were Grant Mantooth, Charles Walker, Caleb Morang, Payton Kell, Jameson Mullinax, Chuck Williams, Ben Ridley, Assistant Chief Chris Crossen, Tyler Hammontree, Sgt. Community Relations David Saylors, Lt. Ricky Long, Coleman Jenkins, Chase Jenkins, Lt. Sam Eaton, Sean Hudson, and Joshua Bethune.

Representing Whitfield County were Daylin Young, Phillip Bishop, Wes Townsend, Saul Lara, Chris Hicks, Reid Lewis, Nick Woods, Braden Smith, David Dollar, Brandon Fincher, Sarah Poole-Hall, Payton Findley, Dia Curtis, Brittany Lance, Jeremy McMillan, Robert Edwards, Jeff Diak, Tara Canchola, Dwayne Holmes, Tommy Spurlock, and Mathew Singleton.

Sponsors included Alliant Health, Cyras, Engineered Floors, Fraternal Order of Police, LOA Carniceria (meat market), Mohawk Industries, Chick-fil-A, Silva’s Mechanical Bull, Jack’s Pawn Shop, Shaw Industries, Advantage Sports, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Academy, and Tractor Supply.