published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Olympic gold medalists take on Wounded Warriors
FRANK JOLLEY | Staff Writer
Olympic gold medalists and wounded American heroes will converge on Clermont in December for a unique softball game.
An all-star team representing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes will square off against the Wounded Warriors Amputee team in a doubleheader at
3 p.m. Saturday at the National Training Center Softball Complex.
The God and Country Games will consist of exhibition games and special events including the FCA All-Stars and the Wounded Warriors team. The FCA All-Stars will consist of professional players and former Olympic gold medalists, including Olympians Jennie Finch, Dot Richardson, Leah Amico, Shelly Stokes-Van Houwelingen, Laura Berg, Monica Abbott, and Natasha Watley. In addition, professional and collegiate standouts Kaci Clark, Charity Butler, Kristen Butler, Corrie Brooks, Meredith Gilpin, Kelsey Bruder, Andrea Harrison, and Kristina Myles-West will play.
Finch will not play because she is pregnant with her third child, but will be at the NTC Softball Complex to speak with fans and sign autographs. Her husband, former Major League Baseball pitcher Casey Daigle, also will be at Saturday's doubleheader.
Daigle is expected to play. Other men playing for the FCA All-Stars will include men's slowpitch professionals Johnny McCraw, Chip Kimmich and Maraco Aragon.
The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) represents the nation's soldiers and veterans.
Members of the WWAST have sustained injuries resulting in amputation while serving in the military and, through extensive rehabilitation, they have become competitive athletes again.
They compete with the aid of pros-thetic legs and arms.
"I'm so humbly honored to be able to not only meet, but play against true heroes, the Wounded Warriors softball team," said Finch. "I personally cannot wait to meet them and thank them for their incredible sacrifice and service. I am excited to see them play."
Tickets may be purchased online at www.fcasoftball.org. Tickets also may be purchased by contacting Bob Pinto, FCA national softball director and Montverde Academy softball coach, at 352-516-4556 or Scott Gilpin at 618-615-1110.
Pinto said he expects the game to sell out, so he encourages fans to buy tickets in advance.
In addition to the doubleheader, there will be myriad opportunities for fans to obtain autographs from the players. Other activities will include a raffle during the nightcap for jerseys, speaking events and special appearances.
"We are honored to be able to set up this special event with these special men," said Pinto. "It will be a great opportunity to see some fun softball, meet the players, and most of all get our message and the message of the WWAST to many people."
A local flavor will be added to the festivities by the South Lake High School NJROTC Color Guard.
Gates at the softball complex will open at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the gate, but are discounted to $5 if purchased in the advance.
After the game, a Meet and Greet Dinner is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Hot Zone Play Ball -- 10726 Libby No. 3 Road -- in Clermont. Tickets are $15, which includes programs by the Wounded Warriors and the FCA All-Stars, dinner and a silent auction.
Pinto said tickets for the dinner likely will sell out, so he advises fans to purchase them ahead of time.
For information about the game or the dinner, contact Pinto or Gilpin.