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'It's about the love of the game and the love for each other' | Softball game raises $1.5K for family of fallen officer

Arcadia and Vanlue's teams held the charity match to support Cory-Rawson head coach Ricki Francis, whose husband Dominic was killed in the line of duty in March.

VANLUE, Ohio — A typical mid-week, high school softball game was something much more. 

The match-up between Vanlue and Arcadia was held in memoriam of fallen hero Dominic Francis who was killed while serving the community.

"I just think it shows this is bigger than the game. It's something we instill in our girls every year. It goes beyond wins and losses. This is one example of that," Arcadia head coach David Spridgeon said.

The teams ditched their typical red colors for green and yellow jerseys and socks as a nod to Cory-Rawson, the school district where Dominic Francis was involved as a teacher, bus driver and coach.

RELATED: 'There wasn't really anyone you could compare him to' | Bluffton community holds vigil in memory of Dominic Francis

Arcadia head coach Dave Spridgeon developed the idea to hold a benefit game in Francis' honor. 

Dominic Francis' wife Ricki is the head coach at Cory-Rawson, and Dominic would help out. Spridgeon says the coaches in the conference are a close group, willing to help those in need.

"We're very close, the coaching fraternity here. Vanlue and us are rivals. We're small schools just like Cory-Rawson, and we wanted to see how we could give back to the family," Spridgeon said.

Spridgeon reached out to Vanlue's coach Taylor Kloepfer with the idea and she was on board from the beginning.

"With all of us being small towns, we like to stick together and have each other's backs when something happens," Kloepfer said. "It's about the love of the game and the love for each other as far as having your back and not just softball."

It's a personal mission for junior shortstop Emily Rank, who knows what it's like to have family in law enforcement. Rank's father is a deputy for the Hancock County Sheriff's Office.

"We wanted to represent law enforcement and how much they put on the line for their jobs," Rank said. "With the situation that happened, just show how much they really put out there and risk for us every day."

RELATED: 'They never went home and they never will' | Line of duty deaths a grim reminder of loss, close calls for TPD detective

At the end of the day, the group raised $1,500 for the Francis family. 

This is not, however, the only benefit game for the Francis family. On Friday, May 6, the Toledo Police Department hockey team is traveling to the Cube Ice Arena in Findlay to face the FOP 109 Warthogs. 

Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m.

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