MOORE — High school fast pitch teams across the state begin their run at a state championship starting this week with regional tournaments.
Even though Moore (28-2) is hosting a regional tournament today and is one of the favorites to play for the 6A title, it had important business to take care of first.
Tuesday, the Lions will hosted the Annual Special Olympics Softball game for all of the Special Olympic athletes at MHS.
“My players enjoy hosting the game because they get to help others enjoy something that they love so much and it helps remind them why they love it,” Moore coach Stephanie Riley said.
This is the fifth year the Lions have put together the event. It was the creation of former MHS and Oklahoma fastpitch standout Drew Wright.
“She developed the idea when she was a senior,” Riley said. “She talked to me and to her Leadership teacher about the idea and we were all very interested. She talked to the Leadership class and the administrators and she got everyone possible involved. It has grown since then.”
Last year the game pitted Moore special Olympians against Southmoore. But this year it has gone back to having the Lions only.
In 2011 the event raised $712. All funds raised will go to the school’s Special Olympics team.
“Our Special Olympians enjoy playing in front of the crowd and getting all of the cheers,” Riley said. “It is awesome to see the smiles on the Special Olympian student-athletes’ faces and the faces of the other students, teachers, coaches, and administrators that help make the game such a success. I believe this game helps bring our school together and inspire school spirit.”
Riley also believes being part of the Special Olympics game will benefit her team’s pursuit of a third fastpitch title, but first since 2007.
“We like to play this game right before our playoff series begins because I feel like it is a great stress relief for my student-athletes and it gets everyone pumped up for the sport of softball,” Riley said. “We generally have a lot of fans come and watch us play during regionals and state because they were at the Special Olympic softball game and they wanted to continue supporting all athletes.”
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth firstname.lastname@example.org