Nittany Lions Host Second Annual Wounded Warrior Benefit Game
April 26, 2011
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
The team was scheduled to play its first game on Friday night at 6:35 p.m., recognizing Emergency Personnel and Military Service Appreciation Night, followed by a second game on Saturday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. serving as the Wounded Warrior Benefit game. However, rainy weather in State College on Friday night postponed the opening game of the series until the next afternoon and gave the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes a doubleheader to begin the series on Saturday.
The Wounded Warrior Project is a non-profit organization that aims to honor and empower wounded warriors, working to raise awareness and meet the needs of injured service members. The Nittany Lions began supporting this program last year, and have helped to aid the families and individuals involved with the most recent generation of wounded soldiers.
In just one way to show their support of the men and women who have served and are serving our country, the Penn State squad traded in its home uniforms for authentic grey-blue and white camouflage jerseys for Saturday's contests.
The jerseys were also featured as just one of many special items to be auctioned off in a silent auction that was held at the ballpark that day. The auction also featured a list of other Penn State merchandise, including a football signed by Joe Paterno, a Nittany Lion basketball hat autographed by Talor Battle, a poster signed by the 2010 Women's Volleyball National Championship team and a placard autographed by Cael Sanderson. More than $600 was made for the Wounded Warrior Project through the auction, which is included in the $1,000 donation that the Penn State Baseball program will be making to the organization.
For the Lions, wearing the camouflage jerseys means more than just a wardrobe change for a set of nine innings. Head coach Robbie Wine said that the event even made him excited to get things started on Saturday.
"I think it's neat," said Wine. "You know we came in here excited - I think this event could be huge. You know we're talking to Ohio State about doing it at their place next year and I think it can spread and I think the Big Ten can kind of take it on if they want to. We're doing it on a smaller scale for more of the local people in the community and you know a lot of the people involved don't want recognition, so we're going to do it anyway. We tried to do more and more and I think it can get there but it's going to take a little time. Hopefully it helps some families and local families that may need some help."
Wine has high hopes for his program's involvement with the special organization, and said that he is proud of what his players and club and has been able to do for the families and soldiers so far.
"You know this is a special event and maybe eventually we can say every Sunday we're going to go camo at home or something," said Wine. "Right now we just want it be a special event and hopefully raise even more awareness."
As an added bonus, the Nittany Lions were able to outlast the Buckeyes in game two of their doubleheader on Saturday. Starting pitcher and sophomore John Walter got the win for Penn State and after the game he said that he was especially happy to be able to be on the mound for a special cause.
"The camo jerseys are awesome and it's for a great cause so I definitely love playing for them," said Walter. "It was definitely huge that we got the win today."
The Penn State baseball program is pleased to help when it comes to the Wounded Warrior Project, and looks forward to supporting the non-profit organization in years to come. Senior starter Blake Lynd spoke for his entire team after Saturday's game and said that they are more than willing to stand for the men and women who fought for our nation.
"I mean words can't express how appreciative we are of our veterans and what they do," said Lynd. "They lie their lives on the line for us so we definitely like to pay them respect and it's a nice thing that we're able to do."