Mt. Vernon Register-News

April 25, 2013

Special Olympics basketball athletes honored today

By PAUL HINES paul.hines@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON – Members of the state championship Special Olympics basketball team will throw out a ceremonial first pitch at today's Rams game.

There are eight members of the Mt. Vernon Special Olympics basketball team. Each of the athletes will be recognized and throw a pitch prior to the game.

“The ones that I have seen and that I have talked to seem very excited that they're going to have the chance to do this,” Mt. Vernon assistant baseball coach Quinn McClure said. “We see them in the hall quite a bit. They'll be by our office and by our classroom. We know them, and they know us.”

Kevin Braddy, who coaches the Mt. Vernon team along with Megan Clodi, said the opportunity was an exciting one for the players on the team.

“I appreciate coach McClure and coach (Tim) Holloway taking the time to give a little focus toward these athletes that have put a lot of hard work into the basketball season and accomplishing some goals that they set out to accomplish,” Braddy said.

The team traveled to Bloomington in March and won the Division I title. The Rams beat Hersey in the championship game 38-30. Mt. Vernon qualified for the title game after winning its semifinal game.

“Just seeing everyone after the game realizing they had won, is one of the things for all those athletes winning the gold is something hard to describe it when you see the smiles on their faces, knowing that they finally accomplished that,” Braddy said.

The squad plays seven to 10 regular season games each season against teams in the area before the playoffs begin. The state final weekend is set up similar to the Peoria state final weekend for varsity basketball squads. Teams compete in a semifinal game on Friday before the third-place and championship games the following day.

Today's ceremony at Brennan Klein Field starts at about 4:15 p.m. The event has been delayed twice this month due to wet weather. Forecasts for today call for sunny skies along with 60 degree temperatures.