BRIDGEWATER, NJ – Special Olympian Andrew Gamache joined the Somerset Patriots for their morning workout during Spring Training at TD Bank Ballpark on Thursday, April 13th.
The Special Olympian, known as “Mr. Social” for his infectious smile and soulful laugh, worked out with the team as they prepared for the upcoming season.
“Andrew’s awesome and a real joy to be around,” said Somerset Patriots Manager Brett Jodie. “He was having a lot of fun out there and the guys really took a liking to him.”
Gamache is an athlete whose events are powerlifting, soccer, bowling, floor hockey, and basketball. A die-hard sports fan, Gamache can often be seen at TD Bank Ballpark during the season cheering for his favorite team- the Somerset Patriots.
“This all started with him being a major fan of the team. I know he comes out to every game and high fives the players,” said Casey Henderson, coach and Education and Sports Training director for Special Olympics New Jersey. “He wanted to be part of the team and we wanted to be out here to support him and his dream. It’s a credit to him to be able to go out there and do this."
Gamache stretched and threw with the players during warm ups. He then participated as a base runner in pitcher pickoff drills, where he was credited with a “stolen base.”
He then took batting practice with the second group of hitters off Jodie, where he impressed with solid contact for a few hard hit line drives through the infield.
“He came out and mingled with all of us to get a good feel of what a day is like in pro baseball. He had a couple one-liners too. He’s pretty funny,” said infielder/outfielder Carlos Guzman. “Today was more than just baseball. It’s about having fun and show that guys like Andrew are winning off the field as well.”
To conclude his day, the entire team took a picture with Gamache as practice wrapped up and the team prepared for an intrasquad game in the afternoon.
“I had a lot of fun today and enjoyed all the different activities with the players. They all made it a very fun experience for me,” Gamache said.
Gamache will be one of 500 Special Olympians and their families joining the Somerset Patriots and TD Bank for their annual Special Olympics Day on Sunday, June 4th at the ballpark. For more information about the event, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.
Tickets to the 2017 Somerset Patriots season which includes the team’s 20th Anniversary, are on sale now. TD Bank Ballpark will be the host of the 2017 Atlantic League All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 12th. For more information, stop by the ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.
About Special Olympics New Jersey:
Special Olympics mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Special Olympics is founded on the belief that people with intellectual disabilities can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sports, adapted as necessary to meet the needs of those with special intellectual and physical limitations.
Special Olympics believes that consistent training is indispensable to the development of sports skills, and that competition among those of equal abilities is the most appropriate means of testing these skills, measuring progress and providing incentives for personal growth.
Special Olympics believes that through sports training and competition people with intellectual disabilities are benefited physically, mentally, socially and spiritually, families are strengthened, and the community at large, both through participation and observation, is united in understanding with intellectual disabilities in an environment of equality, respect and acceptance,