A group of military veterans taking on local celebrities in a game of slow-pitch softball. That was the scene Labor Day morning as the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team took on a team of local celebrities in an exhibition game. The Warriors, made up of a group of Marine and Army veterans that have lost a limb in combat, pounded the celebs 17-6, but it wasn’t the score that was important.
“It’s just so cool to be out here on the field at Louisville Slugger Field,” WAVE 3 sports director Kent Taylor said. “Playing against these guys is such an inspiration and it’s a great day to spend Labor Day.”
The Warriors put on a show for the crowd gathered at Slugger Field, crushing celebrity pitcher Rick Bozich for a multitude of long bombs as well sharp singles. Bozich, an avid fan of the Chicago White Sox, gave up all 17 runs the Warriors scored.
“This is a thrill,” said Bozich, “I get choked up thinking about how inspiring they are. They’ve been through it, they’ve served our country and now they find joy in playing sports.”
Despite their setbacks, the players for the Wounded Warriors are an inspiration to all who watch them play, including baseball players themselves.
“This is the second time I’ve been able to watch these guys and it just puts it all into perspective,” Louisville Bats catcher Corky Miller said. “We (the Bats) are out there grinding it out every day but it’s not even close to what they’ve gone through.”
In a memorable cap to the ballgame, Miller stepped to the plate for the Warriors in the fifth inning and crushed a run-scoring triple much to the delight of everyone at Slugger Field.
“That’s probably the most nervous I’ve been all year,” the fan favorite catcher said. “I didn’t want to pop it up and let them down.”
The Warriors, who tour all over the country raising awareness and money for the Wounded Warrior Project, have become quite good at blistering their competition. All of the players were athletes before or during their duty and haven’t let their injuries get in the way.
But for the Warriors, being able to come out and inspire people and encourage patriotism is what it’s all about.
“This is like being a major leaguer,” says Tom Carlo of the Marines. “There’s no excuses. We’re always trying to win and inspire people to do more.”
“Any time you get to play on a baseball field, it’s a dream come true,” says Todd Reed, Army veteran. “It’s wonderful to see the patriotism and the support we get. We try to do our best to come out show people you can still be active despite a traumatic injury.”
For more information on, or to donate to, the Wounded Warrior Project, you can visit their web-site. The Amputee Softball Team has their own web-site as well that features a profile of each player as well as more information on the team.