SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Its a grand slam for local veterans in Santa Maria looking for a better way to deal with life's struggles, including playing softball, when they no longer wear the uniform.
"Some of us, including myself, when we get out, we miss that family, we miss our tribe, we miss that camaraderie", says Steve Baird with Band of Brothers.
What began as an idea to help local vets with a healthy, positive alternative like playing softball is growing quickly into what could become a new league.
"I think it simply comes down to camaraderie", Steve Baird says, "love and respect for one another and what we did and to get out here and talk and have fun and talk a little trash, it brings us back to our time in the service."
"Especially knowing that you're not alone that's the biggest thing", Baird says, "for me, knowing I have friends again, I can open up my phone and have a hundred and some people I can call on anytime and that's what feels great to me."
Many local veterans have been in and out of court as they struggle to deal with a host of issues including drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.
Local drug treatment court Judge Kay Kuns with the Santa Barbara County Superior Court was on hand to throw out the first ball and encourage local vets to continue their journey to healthy and productive lives.
"This particular county has been incredibly supportive of its treatment courts including the veterans treatment court", Judge Kuns said Friday night, "the criminal justice system has totally turned in the direction of treatment and recognizing that certain individuals are much better off if you're putting them in treatment than punitively incarcerating them, and our vets, of all the people that we owe something to for what they've given up to serve their country, its going to do nothing but grow."
Celebrating and honoring those who've served the nation in uniform is behind the new softball league but its mostly about finding healthy alternatives to the struggles veterans face with everyday life.
Loca veteran Gabriel Resendez was recognized by the Band of Brothers California at Friday night's softball game throwing out the ceremonial first pitch
"I'm proud and I like to see what they've done, its amazing what they do, bringing all the community together, the Band of Brothers", says Gabriel Resendez, "it can't get any better than that.".
To find out more about the growing softball league contact the Band of Brothers California.