Clad in blue jeans and a black cowboy hat, J. P. Munnelly was playing center field. His .38 Smith and Wessen strapped to the side of his blue jeans. A can of beer in one hand and a softball glove in the other.

As the fly ball sailed his way, Munnelly grabbed the ball with one hand, still clutching the beer. The runner on second tagged up, rounded third and headed for home. He made it.

"If I had known he was going to do that I would have put down the beer and thrown the ball," Munnelly screamed from center field.

"You know you're playing the police and we don't like stealing," shouted Gregory Gaston, who was playing third base.

It was the fourth annual softball marathon sponsored by D.C. police officers of the 7th District in far Southeast.

On the first sunny Sunday in three weeks, day with balmy temperatures in the upper 80s, the cops and everybody else came out to play.

Canoeists plied their paddles on the river, joggers pumped along the sidewalks and roller skaters and cyclists vied for the tree-shadowed roadways of Rock Creek Park.

Picnickers spread their blankets in East Potomac Park and down from Carter Barron Amphitheater rumbled 3,500 motocyclists of the American Motocycle Safety Association, gunning their engines as they passed the White House in a demonstration for motorcycle safety.

The softball marathon, at 32nd and Denver streets SE in Anacostia, was designed to benefit muscular dystrophy. The police teams passed the hat or put up lump sum contributions for the charity campaign.

By late yesterday, however, no one really knew how much money had been raised or exactly how many games had been played since the marathon started at 7 p.m. Friday. But they did know one thing -- they were tired.

"I can't even bend down," said Lonnie Tyler as he tried to touch his toes with his hands. "I don't know how I'm gonna make it to work tomorrow."

One officer, Mike Willis, passed out from heat exhaustion on Saturday and was taken to the hospital.

"This is a hard way to make money," said Peter Queen, who along with Munnelly originated the marathon four years ago.

Since Friday, off-duty officers have traded their uniforms and badges for shorts and baseball bats. They played all comers in return for a generous donation.

Some of their opposition was more than they could handle, like the Glenn Dale Angels from Glenn Dale, Md. They went to the field in their green and gold matching uniforms, gloves, bats and balls.

"What's your lineup?" one woman hollered as the police went to take the field.

"We don't need no lineup," said one officer. "Let's play ball."

"That's two strikes," one Glenn Dale player called out when a police officer hit the ball foul.

"Hey, we aren't professionals. We aren't playing by no rule book," said another officer.

The police were clearly there to have fun. Many didn't have gloves and had to borrow them from the other team. Few kept up with the score, or for that matter even cared about the score.

"I'm a winner regardless of the score," said J. P. Munnelly.