For Nova Scotia’s Special Olympic softball team, there couldn’t have been a much better or exciting way to finish the national summer games in Antigonish, where the host Nova Scotia squad clinched the gold medal in the last half of the last inning of the title game.
Facing a team from British Columbia in the gold-medal contest, the Nova Scotians were tied with the West Coast club 18-18 after the B.C. squad evened the score in the top of the seventh inning.
The Nova Scotians loaded the bases in their half of the inning and Walter Muise – one of three Yarmouth-area players on the Nova Scotia team – stepped up to the plate and belted a base hit down the first-base line that drove in the winning run.
“It got everybody hooting and hollering after I hit it,” Muise said.
The 48-year-old celebrated the victory with his teammates, including fellow local players Royce Murphy and Tony Clairmont.
Adam MacIsaac, also from Yarmouth County, was one of the Nova Scotia softball team’s assistant coaches. He said the team headed into the nationals pretty confident they would play well.
“We had a great bunch, a great team,” he said.
Most of the team’s members were from Dartmouth, he said, and it wasn’t until this past June’s Nova Scotia Special Olympic summer games in Halifax that the team’s members actually all played together.
Team members ranged in age from 21 to 58, the oldest being Clairmont.
“It was a very good experience, for me, being my first nationals,” he said.
Well, it wasn’t entirely good for him, given that he returned from the games on crutches, the result of an injury suffered during the final.
“I took one for the team,” he said, laughing. He was happy to add that the player who replaced him after he got hurt running the bases came around to score. “That was awesome,” he said.
This was the third national games for Muise, the second for Murphy.
“We’re all proud winning the gold medal,” said Murphy, 57.
All three Yarmouth players on the Nova Scotia team are longtime softball players.
They will wait to find out if they will get to go to the Special Olympics World Summer Games next year in Abu Dhabi.