World War II veteran throws out first pitch to kick off ball season in Tarkington

World War II veteran Earl Joseph Ayers throws out the first baseball to kick off the start of the new softball and baseball seasons on Saturday, March 27, at the Tarkington ball fields. Ayers, 94, was a 2nd Class Seaman for the United States Navy during World War.

Tarkington Community Baseball Association on Saturday, March 27, held its opening day events with games, cake and basket auctions and an opening pitch thrown out by World War II veteran Earl Joseph Ayers, 95, of Tarkington.

Like every community organization, the success of Tarkington Community Baseball Association depends on the enthusiastic support of its sponsors, parents and families.

“We appreciate the parents’ time and effort in getting their kids to practice and by helping with the baskets for our auction. We also appreciate the team sponsors, families and community members for helping to make our opening day a success,” said Buddy Smith with TCBA.

This year, TCBA has 35 teams made up of 358 Tarkington-area youths.

Recognizing Ayers was a special part of the ceremony on Saturday. Ayers was joined by his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as he raised the U.S. flag while young ladies on the Tarkington baseball team sang the National Anthem. Ayers then threw out the first pitch of the first game of the season as his grandchildren waited at home plate to catch the ball.

Ayers joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 18 in March 1944. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor, the scene of a devastating attack that took place on Dec. 7, 1941, by the Imperial Japanese Navy-Air Service, which ultimately led to the United States formally entering World War II.

The descendants of Earl Joseph Ayers wait for him to pitch out the first baseball to kick off the start of the new softball and baseball seasons on Saturday, March 27, at the Tarkington ball fields. Ayers, 94, was a 2nd Class Seaman for the United States Navy during World War.
World War II veteran Earl Joseph Ayers, 94, was joined by many of his grandchildren and great grandchildren on Saturday when he was asked to throw out the first pitch to kick off the new baseball and softball seasons for Tarkington Community Baseball Association.
Youths hold up an oversized American flag at the Tarkington ball fields on Saturday. The flag served as the backdrop for first pitch to be thrown out by a World War II veteran, Earl Joseph Ayers.
World War II veteran Earl Joseph Ayers is helped to the field by family members on Saturday, March 27. Ayers was asked to throw out the first pitch to officially kick off the new baseball and softball seasons.
Tarkington softball players on Saturday, March 27, perform the Star Spangled Banner at the opening game for the new season of Tarkington Community Baseball Association.
Earl Joseph Ayers, a 95-year-old World War II veteran, raises the American flag at the start of the Tarkington Community Baseball Association’s opening game on Saturday, March 27.
Buddy Smith, who works tirelessly for Tarkington Community Baseball Association, joins in the tribute to the U.S. flag at the opening day event for the 2021 baseball-softball seasons on Saturday, March 27.

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