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Nelson helps lead Clay Hurricanes to Special Olympics gold medal in softball

Posted 12/31/69

FLEMING ISLAND – Clay County’s Special Olympics 25-and-under softball team, the Hurricanes, won the state championship at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

The Hurricanes …

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Nelson helps lead Clay Hurricanes to Special Olympics gold medal in softball


Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – Clay County’s Special Olympics 25-and-under softball team, the Hurricanes, won the state championship at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

The Hurricanes finished 2-0, competed in the highest division of competition, level four, fighting to the last out to win the gold medal.

“The competition was difficult all season. Both games went back and forth, up and down, and many of the teams played are from South Florida, which (typically fields) higher-caliber programs than our area,” said head coach Marsha Fuller.

An in-the-park grand slam in Game 1 sent the Hurricanes’ bench into a frenzy and provided the extra power the team needed.

“(The players) were definitely excited. We get excited about a lot of things, especially for a run, much less a grand slam. They all were cheering, jumping up and down. I told them, ‘We can’t get too excited, because the next game will start in 15 minutes,’” she said.

One star standout performer was Adam Nelson, a 25-year-old catcher. His five-month journey started in July when the team began preparing for the season in the Florida heat.

“He did great. (Adam) really shined more than I expected, especially since he’s a new player on our team. When it came to the tension and the ‘drama of competition.’ Sometimes (opponents) will give you stress, but you have to just block it out. And that’s what he did,” said skills coach Tana Fuller.

His brother, Anthony, 8, shined in the individual skills competition, winning another gold medal for the county.

“He is definitely the youngest player in the delegation, and he did very well. Traveling can be stressful for an 8-year-old, but he showed no signs of it. He played extremely well,” she said. “He put a fast base running performance on display and didn’t miss any of his fielding assignments.”

Bristol Burris and Addy Carrey won silver, and Erika Siler won a bronze.

“It was fun, and the team had fun. We hit the cover off the baseball and fielded well, and most importantly, we had fun as a team. There’s nothing more you can ask for,” Adam said.

One medal is not enough.

“I’m (planning) on going back and winning another championship next year, too,” Nelson said.

Alongside the Havoc, which finished 0-2 and won the bronze medal, the Hurricanes were part of a group of 37 who participated in the Healthy Athletes event.

“It’s always wonderful at the (Wide World of Sports). It’s a perfect facility for all of our activities, and they do such an excellent job of hosting the Special Olympics and our athlete partners,” Fuller said.

Nelson aptly described the experience: “It was super fun. We had food, lunches and parties. I saw fireworks, met Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck, dancing, DJs, dinners and chicken,” he said.