Softball

@NDsoftball
Softball Welcomes National Heroes This Weekend

The Notre Dame softball team hosts the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team Sunday at Melissa Cook Stadium

Sept. 25, 2013


By Phoenix Harris (’14)



The University of Notre Dame is known for having legendary coaches, creating legendary players, and producing legendary teams. But this weekend, a team of men who are legends in their own right will grace our university.

On Sunday, Sept. 29 at noon, the Irish softball team will host two exhibition games featuring the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) at Melissa Cook Stadium.

Like all great legends, the athletes on the WWAST have gone above and beyond in the face of adversity. Each player has experienced severe injuries that resulted in amputations while serving in the United States military. While their injuries vary, the collective hard work, perseverance, and genuine athleticism of all team members have led them to stops at Fenway Park, Nationals Park, and now their two exhibition games at Notre Dame.

The inspirational stories and contagious personalities of the Wounded Warriors caught the attention of Notre Dame softball head coach Deanna Gumpf when she was at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) convention this past December 2012.

“We saw these guys standing there and we had heard about their team before,” Gumpf says, “We went up to them and just started talking to them. They were awesome.”

After meeting Matt Kinsey, Josh Wege, coach David Van Sleet and a few other WWAST players, plans to have them come to South Bend quickly began falling into place.

“We didn’t realize how well we were going to hit it off,” Gumpf says. “It was a meeting by chance and it turned into a really cool event.”

In actuality this “event” goes beyond the games, involving activities on campus all weekend long.

Festivities will start Friday afternoon (Sept. 27) at the traditional Notre Dame Football Luncheon. The team will also be recognized at both the pep rally and during the Oklahoma football game on Saturday.

As for the actual games, the WWAST squad will square off against the Irish softball team in the first game beginning at noon. The second contest will be a celebrity slow-pitch game against Notre Dame alumni, coaches and Irish athletics figures past and present. The team, managed by hockey head coach Jeff Jackson, includes former men's basketball captain LaPhonso Ellis, men’s basketball head coach Mike Brey, baseball coach Mik Aoki and former women’s basketball standout Danielle Green-Byrd.

“It’s always exciting to be on campus and to visit Notre Dame,” Green-Byrd says. “They contacted me a couple months ago about participating in the ND celebrity softball game versus the WWAST. I felt very honored.”

Green-Byrd is not only a former Notre Dame student and athlete, but she is also a veteran of the U.S. Army, and lost her lower left arm while serving in Iraq in 2004. With such a personal connection to the event and team, Green-Byrd is eager take part in the celebrity slow-pitch game.

“If they can do it, I can do it too,” Green-Byrd says. “I’m very excited to be participating this weekend because it gives me an opportunity to showcase my athletic skills and be amongst friends and family.”
According to Green-Byrd, hosting the WWAST is an extension of the university’s dedication to the motto ‘God, Country, Notre Dame.’

“This is what Notre Dame does. We find ways to help,” says Green-Byrd. “[This event] just speaks volumes to Notre Dame’s recognition and dedication to servicemen and women who pay the ultimate sacrifice. It’s great that Notre Dame has opened their doors to the WWAST.”

Coach Gumpf and the Notre Dame softball team have created a fun-filled lineup while keeping in mind that the main goal for the weekend is to raise money to support the WWAST as they continue to train and compete around the country.

“Our team is part of something really special in everything that we do,” Gumpf says. “I think that they really appreciate it and they’re honored to help. It’s cool to be part of things and it’s cool to be part of something that’s bigger than yourself.”

In addition to coming out and cheering on the WWAST team members, attendees can donate to Gloves 4 Troops; an organization that sends baseballs and gloves overseas in order to provide U.S. military forces with recreational activities while away from home.

All are encouraged to come and donate. The Notre Dame softball team guarantees you will leave inspired.

“I don’t think it’s going to take much because these guys are so amazing and they’re such great role models,” Gumpf says. “They’re not letting anything stop them. What a great thing for our team to learn. They may be missing a leg, but that doesn’t stop them from doing whatever they want to do.”

Keep an eye out for the WWAST members at Friday night’s pep rally and this Saturday at the football game. And be encouraged to join the Irish softball team this Sunday at the exhibition games.

It isn’t every day that legends are on campus.

For more information on the fundraiser, contact the Notre Dame softball office at (574) 631-3750, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.

All fans attending the WWAST exhibition games on Sunday are encouraged to make a $5 donation at the Melissa Cook Stadium gate. All proceeds will directly benefit the WWAST. Gloves can be donated throughout the entirety of the fundraiser.

To learn more about the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, please visit www.woundedwarrioramputeesoftballteam.org.

Additionally, make sure to like the team’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WoundedWarriorAmputeeSoftballTeam.


 

 

Event Calendar

Delta

February 10
12:00 PM
Weber State
Long Beach, Calif. (LBSU Softball Complex)
February 10
2:30 PM
Long Beach State
Long Beach, Calif. (LBSU Softball Complex)
February 11
12:00 PM
South Dakota
Long Beach, Calif. (LBSU Softball Complex)
February 11
2:30 PM
San Diego State
Long Beach, Calif. (LBSU Softball Complex)
February 12
12:00 PM
UCLA
Los Angeles, Calif. (Easton Stadium)
February 17
1:30 PM
Minnesota
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
February 18
10:00 AM
Michigan
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
February 18
12:30 PM
Minnesota
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
February 19
10:00 AM
Michigan
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
February 23
6:30 PM
Texas
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 23
9:00 PM
Missouri
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 24
3:30 PM
Arizona State
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 24
6:00 PM
Georgia
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 25
1:00 PM
Oklahoma
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
March 4
12:30 PM
Purdue
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
March 4
5:00 PM
FIU
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
March 5
10:00 AM
Chattanooga
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
March 5
12:15 PM
Charlotte
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
March 11
TBA
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga. (Mewborn Field)
March 11
TBA
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga. (Mewborn Field)
March 12
TBA
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga. (Mewborn Field)
March 14
5:00 PM
Georgia State
Atlanta, Ga. (Heck Softball Complex)
March 15
6:00 PM
Mercer
Macon, Ga. (Sikes Field)
March 17
6:00 PM
Florida State
Tallahassee, Fla. (JoAnne Graf Field)
March 18
1:00 PM
Florida State
Tallahassee, Fla. (JoAnne Graf Field)
March 19
12:00 PM
Florida State
Tallahassee, Fla. (JoAnne Graf Field)
March 22
5:00 PM
Michigan State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
March 24
6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
March 25
3:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
March 26
12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
March 29
5:00 PM
Eastern Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 5
5:00 PM
Fort Wayne
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 7
6:00 PM
North Carolina
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 8
3:00 PM
North Carolina
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 9
12:00 PM
North Carolina
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 11
5:30 PM
Detroit Mercy
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 12
6:00 PM
IUPUI
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 14
4:00 PM
NC State
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
April 14
6:00 PM
NC State
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
April 15
1:00 PM
NC State
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
April 19
6:00 PM
Western Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 21
6:00 PM
Virginia
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 22
3:00 PM
Virginia
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 23
12:00 PM
Virginia
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 25
5:00 PM
Northwestern
Evanston, Ill. (Drysdale Field)
April 29
1:00 PM
Arkansas
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 29
3:00 PM
Arkansas
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 30
12:00 PM
Arkansas
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 3
6:00 PM
Butler
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 5
6:00 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 6
3:00 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 7
12:00 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 11
TBA
ACC Championship
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Anderson Stadium)
May 12
TBA
ACC Championship
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Anderson Stadium)
May 13
TBA
ACC Championship
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Anderson Stadium)
May 19
TBA
NCAA Regionals
Campus sites
May 20
TBA
NCAA Regionals
Campus sites
May 21
TBA
NCAA Regionals
Campus sites
May 25
TBA
NCAA Super Regionals
Campus sites
May 26
TBA
NCAA Super Regionals
Campus sites
May 27
TBA
NCAA Super Regionals
Campus sites
May 28
TBA
NCAA Super Regionals
Campus sites
June 1
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 2
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 3
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 4
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 5
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 6
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 7
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)

Shop Now

Nissan

Auctions

Official ND Online Auctions // Bid Now »

Gear Store

Get your Official ND Gear // Shop Now »

Photo Galleries

Canon

St. Joseph Health System Nissan Delta Canon Visit South Bend Mishawaka Vivid Seats