Team North Dakota ready for Special Olympics North America game day

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BISMARCK, N.D. - More than 400 athletes and 28 teams are heading into Bismarck Thursday.

The Special Olympics North America Softball Championship is being held in Bismarck this weekend.

It's been six weeks of pounding the pavement for these special olympics athletes.

"How to bat, and how to run," said 1st baseman Mohamed Kemokei, describing what they've been practicing.

"Running different drills, playing catch with them, hitting the ball. Putting them in different situational plays," said coach Stacey Christian.

Team North Dakota is made of 15 players from Bismarck and Mandan... Put together solely for the Special Olympics Softball championship.

And after a month and a half of practicing. It's go time.

"Now, it's putting in real time game. And putting them into those situations. one, two, three, you're out," said Christian.

Some of the players have been playing softball since they were children, but they're still getting butterflies.

"I'm very nervous. Now I'm excited for the tournament this Friday," said Kemokei.

Others have been playing for the McQuade Tournaments, and they're ready to face off with other athletes.

"Meet new friends, and competition with the other states," said shortstop Ray Carlson.

The players say they want the championship to help them refine their softball skills.

Their coach also wants them to learn about teamwork, as well as working beyond your potential.

"Don't let your disability stop you. Let it drive you. And make it take you a 110 percent further," said Christian.

The Walk of Champions and ceremonial first pitch starts Friday at 8 a.m.

Games will take place every 90 minutes at Clem Kelley Softball Complex.

To find out more about the schedule, visit the attached link.