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Athletes of Distinction

Odessa College Baseball Team Steps Up to the Plate for Special Olympics

 – Special Olympic Texas, Area 18-Permian Basin/Big Bend hosted their annual area softball competition on Saturday, Oct. 6 at Odessa College. Teams from Fort Stockton, Monahans, Odessa and Ector County came together to compete in slow-pitch softball, softball tee-ball and individual skills competitions. In the slow-pitch softball division there were four teams, one of which was a “unified” team. A unified team is a team combined with Special Olympics Texas athletes (qualified under the guidelines with intellectual disabilities) and players who are siblings or parents that do not have an intellectual disability.

Athletes not ready to compete in team sports have the opportunity to compete in individual skills where they are graded in basic skills needed in specific sports. In softball, the athletes compete in timed base running, hitting a softball from a tee for distance, throwing a ball for distance and accuracy, and fielding a ball. The athletes receive a score for each event. At the end of the skills competition, the scores for all the events are added together and the athletes are awarded accordingly, based upon their total score. Area 18 had 14 athletes compete separately in individual skills.

The Odessa College baseball team volunteered in full force, providing support as scorekeepers, umpiring contest, and set up/clean up for the event. The individual skills competition was at the direction of the Odessa College baseball team. Interacting with the Special Olympic athletes and creating a positive atmosphere for the event was the goal for Odessa College head baseball coach, Brian Blessie. “Anytime our athletes can assist within the community, OC baseball will be there,” stated Coach Blessie. “This was a great opportunity for our baseball athletes to assist those less fortunate, and at the same time, realize how blessed they really are.“ Even though the temperature was unseasonably cool, all participants of the Area 18-Permian Basin/Big Bend Special Olympics softball event had a great time.

Norm Arias, the Director of Field Services for the Special Olympics Texas, was in Odessa from his home base in Austin for the Area 18 event. Mr. Arias stated, ”The presence of the Odessa College baseball team was huge. The OC team served as role models for our Special Olympic Texas athletes, and boosted their moral and provided the encouragement to do their very best. Special Olympics Texas appreciates the support of the Odessa College baseball team and the support of Odessa College for our athletes.“

For more information, please contact Odessa College athletic director Wayne Baker, 432-335-6574 or wbaker@odessa.edu.

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