Bo Porter tosses ceremonial first pitch at softball game for wounded veterans
After a busy morning, the Astros continued their community work on Saturday afternoon when manager Bo Porter threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the VETSports Houston Softball Classic.
"Whenever you are selected to do an event like this and represent your country, you are honored to do it," Porter said. "To have events like this that bring people out and support them is great."
VETSports is an organization created for and by wounded United States military veterans.
"Back when they leave the hospital and go back to their hometowns, there is a void in services when they get home, a lack of support and a lack of team camaraderie," VETSports president Randy Tharp said. "So, a group of us got together and created VETSports to get guys active again in their hometowns."
The organization has only been in existence since July, 2012, and according to Tharp it already has teams across the nation in several sports. Turning the Houston Softball Classic into an annual tradition is also part of their plan.
"Guys are really taking it and making it their own, and love to be a part of this," Tharp said.
Mandy Spoerle, outreach coordinator and wife to the team's third baseman, said it was "unbelieveable" to see Porter at the event.
"Bo just kind of made me feel like family," Spoerle said. "He’s a great guy and has his heart in the right place."
Porter has worked with similar organizations in the past, and met some of the same participants in a tournament at Nationals spring training last year.
"[This event is] great for Houston, and it’s great for the Houston Astros," Porter said. "I’m glad that I was able to be here."
-- Rachel Frey / MLB.com Real-Time Correspondent