The heat that will likely bake Crysler Stadium Saturday afternoon will seem mild when it comes to the intensity on the field as Independence police officers and firefighters take the field for the second annual Guns and Hoses Softball Classic.

“We’re taking it pretty serious this year,” Independence Fire Chief Doug Short said. “We’ve even had a couple of practices.”

The game at 2 p.m. Saturday is free, but donations are being accepted, along with school supplies that will be given to students in Eastern Jackson County.

The police squad claimed a 10-7 victory last year and this year, they hope to keep bragging rights.

“Usually we’re on the same side as the firefighters,” Independence detective Chris Burris quipped, “but Saturday, it will be every man for himself.

“We’re practicing, we’re making sure we have the best players playing this year and we’re going into the game to get a win.”

Both Short and Burris showed mutual respect, as long as they weren’t talking about the Saturday matchup.

Burris was quick to add, “We have a couple of career players on our team this year – guys who can play the game – and the stakes are high. We’re going all out to get a win and have our own bragging rights this year.”

The first charity softball game was part of a DECA community service project last year for William Chrisman graduate Taylor Perry, whose father Matt is the Bears head football coach and whose mom Cindy is the DECA sponsor.

“Last year this was Matt’s project and this year it’s mine, and we are so excited about Saturday’s game,” Cindy Perry said. “We want everyone to come out and have some fun, cheer on their favorite team and help support FosterAdopt Connect.”

FosterAdopt Connect believes stability is the key to healthy child development, especially for those children who have suffered from abuse and neglect.

The program connects kids with adults who can help begin the healing process.

“We’re so excited to be a part of the Guns and Hoses softball game,” FosterAdopt Connect director Liz Ross-Luce said. “It’s so important to get the word out about our agency, especially to everyone here in our own backyard.”

Perry wants fans to know that concessions will be available and she is hoping to have a sno-cone machine and play areas where younger children can have some fun while their parents watch the game.