News Article Details

Moses Lake Warriors bring home gold medal

Columbia Basin Herald - 8/28/2017

Aug. 28--Print Article

EVERETT -- When the word came down that the road to the Special Olympics Washington Summer Games state softball championship went through the Tri-City All Stars, hearts sunk, fears rose and that feeling of impending doom circled the Moses Lake Warriors like a tornado moving across the open prairie.

It's not exactly like looking at the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, but the Tri-City All-Stars were the reason they went into the state championship as the No. 2 seed from the Eastern Region. They're tough, man, and with their hopes and dreams riding on beating these guys the fear rose through the ranks.

Like every good coach, every good man, Warriors coach Jerry Manning gathered the team and gently reminded them why they were there. How they had rebounded from an opening-round loss with two straight wins to advance to the semifinals.

"Jerry gave them a pep talk that morning and had them working extra hard warming up," said Pam Schmidt, North Central Washington Family Support Coordinator. "There was no yelling, just a lot of encouragement and letting them know we were going to get out there and play our hardest and it worked."

Moses Lake Warriors Special Olympics softball team overcame, worked together to beat Tri-Cities en route to the Division 4 gold medal at the state tournament Aug. 19-20 at Boeing Field in Everett.

The Warriors (4-1) defeated the All-Stars 9-6 in the semifinals, then sealed the deal with a 16-1 victory over the BRAT Huskies in the championship game.

Special Olympics is an avenue for the betterment of society, giving the special needs community the opportunity to participate and achieve great things. It's as much an expansion in social skills as a test of athletic determination. For the Warriors, ages 12 to 60, the road trip to Everett felt like a minor league team out on the road.

"Oh my gosh, what an experience for them. They spent two nights in a motel, getting to eat at restaurants where they had to order their own meal, it's a big deal for this group of athletes," Schmidt said. "One thing Special Olympics does is that we draw in the athletes with the competition, but we're making sure they are healthy, they are active and their needs are met. It's as much as ordering their own meal as it is getting a base hit.

"You should have seen the kids, we had dinner at Denny's and they pay their own bill. All of a sudden, it's time to open up their wallet and figure out how much money they're supposed to give them. How to leave a tip and that sort of thing. This whole experience is just phenomenal."

Of course, beating the All-Stars and winning the gold medal was pretty cool too for the Moses Lake Warriors, state champions.

Games to the title

1) Lake Stevens Eagles 1, Moses Lake Warriors 0

2) Moses Lake Warriors 8, Shoreline Hawks 5

3) Moses Lake Warriors, 14 BRAT Huskies 3

4) Moses Lake Warriors 9, Tri City All Stars 6

5) Moses Lake Warriors 16, BRAT Huskies 1

Rodney Harwood is a sports writer for the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at rharwood@columbiabasinherald.com

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