KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – The Freedom Classic is returning this weekend to Grainger Stadium.

The fun and friendly competition kicked off on Friday between the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy baseball teams. It’s America’s favorite pastime and cadets from each academy were ready to face off in an unforgettable match. 

“You’re going to see baseball in its purest form, where these kids have respect and dignity for one another and further opposing teammates. And I think it’s just great to watch,” says Air Force head baseball coach Mike Kazlausky. 

Coaches for both teams are excited to be back in Kinston.  

“We love coming here. I think this is the highlight of our year from a standpoint of regular season stuff, to be able to come down here and be embraced by all of you,” says Navy head baseball coach Paul Kostacopoulos. 

They also said this is a great chance to highlight the brave cadets who will soon serve our country. 

“When it’s all said and done, both academies, these boys are going to walk across the stage, shake the President of the United States’ hand in front of 20,000 people. Thunderbirds or Blue Angels, rip overhead and go serve and fight for our country,” said Kazlausky. 

During the games, they’ll also take the time to honor veterans and active-duty service members. 

“We are the only military-style baseball tournament that is organized as three flyovers one for each of their games, it’s a big deal and takes a lot of effort,” said director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Kinston, Corey Povar. 

Game two will be Saturday at 2 pm and the finale is set for Sunday at 12:30 pm. Click here for more on the event or check out the Freedom Classic Facebook page.