On Saturday, August 15, 2015, Area 27 of the North Country Region invited softball and soccer athletes from around the region to participate in soccer skills, softball team and softball skills. The day began like any other Special Olympics competition; the torch was lit to begin the games, the athlete oath was spoken, and the athletes took their positions to start their events. As the soccer skills started on one side of the Malone Memorial Recreation Park, the fields on the other end were filled with the softball team athletes from Tupper Lake, Saranac and Canton. One athlete by the name of Keith Pragle from the Tupper Lake Mountaineers took 2nd base for the first time ever as a Special Olympics athlete. At the bottom of the first inning, a batter from the Saranac Rednecks hit a fly ball to second, which was caught by #13, Keith Pragle. He quickly tagged second base before the runner returned, then tagged the runner on first for an out! Causing three outs in one play, also known as an unassisted triple play, Keith didn’t realize the importance of his play! As far as we know, this play has never taken place in the history of Special Olympics NY! Anne Daignault, the official scorekeeper and wife of head umpire Truman Daignault, stated “I have only seen this once in the major leagues!” Being associated with the Special Olympics for over 15 years she claimed she had “never seen this happen in Special Olympics!” Later in the day, I received a call from Anne. She had said that she went home after the competition on Saturday and googled ‘major league triple unassisted plays. ‘ “Since 1909, there has only been 15 triple unassisted plays in the MLB!” she says. Truly amazing.
After interviewing Keith after the game, he seemed very modest regarding his achievement. He stated that “I just like softball” and that everyone that plays needs to remember to “go to practice!” He wanted to thank his coaches Bob and Scott and his teammates on the Tupper Lake SunMount Mountaineers. Keith was given the honor of taking home the game ball, which was signed by both ASA umpires. The picture below shows Keith standing proud between both umpires holding the game ball. Keith should be extremely proud of himself! Like many of our amazing special Olympic athletes, it is incredible the things one can do when they are given the opportunity! Congratulations Keith! You have gone down in Special Olympics history!