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Softball player lifts team to third gold medal


Brandon Wynne of Aloha scores two home runs, two base hits at Special Olympics

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Brandon Wynne knocks a hit during the 2014 Special Olympics Oregon games. Just like last year, Wynne's Washington Wildcats softball team took a first-place gold medal in the games on July 12 and 13.Although thunder and lightning interfered with one of his three games, Aloha resident Brandon Wynne’s two home runs helped his softball team manage a gold-medal victory for the third year in a row at the Special Olympics Oregon Summer Games held over the weekend in Newberg.

Outfielder Wynne competed with the Washington County Wildcats in two games on Saturday and one on Sunday at the Newberg High School and Darnell Wright Softball Complex. The Wildcats beat the Multnomah Pilots 8-7 in the first game, with the second game producing a tie. The Sunday afternoon match-up was called early because of lightning and rain, but went to the Wildcats, who were ahead in the last full inning played.

“We had two outs,” Wynne said. “We needed one more out. We were going to be up to bat.”

The “A” Division victories provided the Washington County team its third first place, gold-medal victory in the annual summer competition, which serves as state championships that also include track and field, bocce, golf and softball for Special Olympics athletes in Oregon. Participants have trained in their hometowns for eight weeks before the games to qualify for the regional-level competition.

“We weren’t really thinking about the gold medal in our heads,” Wynne said. “I just wanted to go out there and stop them and try to win the game over the other opponent.”by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Brandon Wynne shares a smile with Levi Arthur, Jerome Kersey, a former Portland Trailblazer, Travis Koski and Courtney Ngai, while participating as Global Messengers emcees from Washington County at the 2014 Special Olympics Oregon ceremonies.

The Oregon program serves 12,000 participants. It offers training and competition opportunities in 14 Olympic-style sports in three seasons of statewide contests in winter, summer and fall.

Not given to tooting his own horn, the soft-spoken Wynne, who graduated from Westview High School in 2004, conceded he “played pretty well.”

“I had two home runs on the first game. In the second game, I scored, but not a home run. I got to second base on a hit and first base on another,” he noted.

Laura Ngai, the Wildcats’ coach, said the games unfolded in fairly typical fashion, with Wynne once again proving his dependability.

“As always, when we play Multnomah County, all three games were very close,” she said. “Wildcats won their third straight championship with two wins and a tie. This held up our undefeated season. Brandon, as usual, came through with at least two very timely home runs, while playing stellar outfield and some great pitching when we most needed it.”

On Saturday evening, Wynne and Ngai’s daughter Courtney served as co-emcees for the Summer Games ceremonies, sharing the main stage with special guest Jerome Kersey, a former NBA player.

Wynne, a Nike employee who said he’s probably taking a break from organized sports for the rest of the summer, said the competition was a success because of how the Wildcats worked together as a team.

“It was actually really great,” he said. “We matched our goal we wanted, which is getting the gold. We kept our undefeated season this year. That took a lot of teamwork to do that.

“It was actually a great weekend.”

For more information on the Summer Games, visit soor.org.