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The Baltimore Blast And The Baltimore Station Work To Help Veterans

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Baltimore Blast partnered with The Baltimore Station for a good cause and in the process, the soccer team took on a different sport.

The Baltimore Blast is the city's champion indoor soccer team. This week, they've traded soccer for softball, playing against a team from The Baltimore Station, the south Baltimore residential treatment facility which helps homeless veterans.

According to their website, The Baltimore Station aims to support  "veterans and others who are transitioning through the cycle of poverty, addiction, and homelessness to self-sufficiency."

Baltimore Blast players played softball with veterans Monday to help support them on their path to recovery.

"My father was a veteran of the Korean War,"  said Baltimore Blast head coach Danny Kelly. "These guys come back from wherever they were and it's not easy to adjust back to society. If we can help in some small way by having a good time with them, then we're honored to do that."

This is the fifth year or the partnership between The Blast and The Baltimore Sation. The veterans also go to Towson to watch The Blast in action.

"It opens doors for our guys that they may not have ever thought would be possible," said John Friedel, executive director of The Baltimore Station. "It really brings the players down here. Many of them are from Brazil and are here learning the game of softball for the first time."

Veteran Douglas West is among the veterans at The Baltimore Station who is taking part in the game.

"I have memories and flashbacks of what I used to do when I was young," said West." And that's when I played all sports so it's a fun thing for me getting back to doing that. It helps me when I get around my kids as well."

The Baltimore Station is located on West Street in South Baltimore and has 138 beds for homeless veterans.

"Over the course of a year, we serve upwards of 350 men, and they can stay with us for up to 24 months," said Friedel. "While they're with us they're receiving a lot of therapeutic services to get them back on their feet and back into the community."

Veterans and the Baltimore Blast agreed these activities help boost morale and confidence.

"We come out once a week and whether we're playing softball or playing Scrabble with the guys, any way we can give back we're happy to do it," said Kelly. "We're happy to help and it's an honor for us to come here and help them out."

More information about The Baltimore Station can be found here.

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