The Pearland Saints are returning home from the Special Olympics North America (SONA) Softball Championship with the bronze medal. The Saints completed the three-day tournament, held in Bismarck, with a 3-2 record in the Minot division, including a victory over in-state Special Olympics Texas-rival Best Friends (San Antonio) in the third-place game on Sunday, Aug. 20.
Through three-straight appearances in the SONA Softball Championship, the Saints have claimed a gold medal (2015), fourth place ribbon (2016) and now a bronze medal (2017).
The 2017 Pearland Saints, coached by Raymond Rocha and Melissa Rocha, includes: Gabriel Cantu (Baytown), Wisdom Chenevert, Franklin Cullen (Dickinson), Christopher Ray DeLeon (Houston), Calvin Dixon (Sweeny), John Lakey, Jason Lane (Pearland), Freddie Lee Matthews (Brazoria), Jeffrey Ramsey (Pearland), Victor Resendez (Pearland), Donovan Roesler (Pearland), Joshua Sherwood and Michael Utley (Pearland).
The SONA Softball Championship is a test of skill designed to give Special Olympics softball players from North America a chance to compete in a tournament setting. More than 400 athletes and Unified partners comprising 25 teams from throughout the United States and Canada will competed in the sport of softball in Special Olympics traditional team and Unified Sports (people with and without intellectual disabilities playing as teammates) formats.
Special Olympics Softball emphasizes teamwork, physical fitness and strategic thinking – benefits and skills found on the playing field that Special Olympics athletes use as part of being active, contributing members of their communities. Currently, more than 94,000 Special Olympics athletes are participating in the sport globally, including 63,000 in North America.
Results – Pearland Saints (3-2)
vs. Best Friends (Texas) – W, 15-14
vs. Mississippi Mudbugs – L, 12-7
vs. Henry Co. Big Dogs (Georgia) – W, 13-8
vs. Henry Co. Big Dogs (Georgia) – L, 13-12
vs. Best Friends (Texas) – W, 24-3*