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Military All-Star baseball team plays in Wilmington

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WILMINGTON -- The Wilmington Sharks' opponents on Monday night are used to wearing uniforms, not just the baseball variety. The US Military All-Star baseball team is made up of the best players from 38 US military teams worldwide. It made its first-ever stop in Wilmington for Monday's exhibition game. Sharks Director of Operations Conor Caloia said, "We're really honored to have them here, coming to Wilmington, and playing against us." Sharks pitcher Bryant Gaines, who plays for UNC Chapel Hill, said, "It's very exciting. It's neat getting to wear camouflage uniforms." The Sharks wore specially-made camouflage jerseys in honor of their opponents. The military all-stars serve in all military branches and the Coast Guard. "That's how we fight, that's how we play baseball, which makes it interesting, " said Lt. Cmdr. Terry Allvord, the team's general manager. The players play on the team as often as they can when they're not deployed. More than 150 are expected to play this year. Allvord said, "There are guys that are coming out here tonight to play, it will be either their first game or their last game before they go back to their units. Some will only play a day, some will play a week, some will play two weeks." The team has been around for 19 years and its mission is to spread support for the troops. Allvord said the team gets so many requests to play, it has to turn many down. Players said it's a special experience to play the sport they love, tour, and meet people from all over the world. Master Chief Timothy Paschal of the Navy Reserve is in his first year on the team. He said, "This is our opportunity, not only coming back from the war zone, but also to promote the military and the sacrifices that our men and women are making." Second Class Petty Officer Ray Judy of the Navy has played for seven years. "Going town to town, it's amazing how you actually get to see the people and interact with all the community, " he said. The Sharks pulled away with a 5-1 victory.

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