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While wet weather didn’t stop the Oldham County Eagles from capturing a Special Olympics state championship on Sept. 9, it certainly made things a little more difficult as the double-elimination tournament shifted to a single-elimination format due to heavy rain in Bowling Green.
Sharing a bracket with the Northern Kentucky Cobras and Pitt Academy, two stumbling blocks for the Eagles all season, didn’t help either.
None of that mattered on Sunday, as Oldham County made their presence felt early and often in Bowling Green.
After etching out a close 13-11 win against Northern Kentucky in the morning game, the Eagles faced their most challenging opponent in the nightcap, taking on a Pitt Academy squad that has gone toe-to-toe with the Eagles in recent championships.
The teams’ most recent post-season meeting during last year’s championship game ended with Pitt winning their second consecutive gold medal 11-8. The Eagles made sure to return the favor, piling on 11 runs en route to an 11-6 win. It was the Oldham County team’s third state championship overall and their first since 2009.
“We regained our rightful spot as state champions,” coach Bob Amos said with a laugh. “They’ve been friendly rivals for the last several years and we always look forward to playing each other.”
But more than just a win or a state championship, it was a testament to the team’s hard work all year, Amos said.
“They worked really hard throughout the season, practicing four times per week, and that their hard work resulted in success,” Amos said. “In order for our team to qualify and then win the state tournament, we needed every player on the team to contribute at different times, and that’s exactly what happened.”
For Amos, who has been involved with the Special Olympics for 10 years, the victory was special for other reasons too.
“This is really just a fun group to be around,” Amos said. “They all have a lot more ability than people give them credit for and often aren’t given the opportunity to bring those abilities out. As they develop and master new skills, just seeing what it means to them and enriches their lives (is special).”
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