A new ingredient was added to the eighth annual Brett Favre Celebrity Softball Game: genuine drama.
Often enjoyed for its charitable and light-hearted nature, the game turned into a serious battle for team bragging rights as it headed for extra innings. Tight end Clark Harris, a 2007 seventh-round draft pick participating in his first game, drove home the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning as the offense edged the defense, 14-13.
A record attendance of 8,597 packed Fox Cities Stadium on Father's Day to watch their favorite stars of the gridiron take on a new game, with all proceeds going to the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation to assist disadvantaged or disabled children in Wisconsin and Mississippi.
"It's amazing how competitive these guys are," said Brett Favre. "For Deanna and I, we are amazed every year at the amount of people who come and the amount of money we are able to raise."
The offense got things started with four consecutive home runs from Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Ingle Martin and Donald Lee to take a commanding lead, much to the delight of offensive manager Edgar Bennett. Martin, a second-time participant, belted two home runs on the day to bring his career total to five.
Favre and wife Deanna played for the offense, while daughter Brittany played second base for the defense.
Shawn Slocum, manager of the defense, rearranged his lineup both on the field and at the plate to mount a furious comeback, plating 10 runs in the sixth inning to take a 13-12 lead.
Two fans made significant contributions to the charity and were penciled into the lineups by coaches Slocum and Bennett. Scott Horack donated $14,000 to the charity and played for the offense, while Dave Krapf, a participant last year, lined up in the outfield for the defense for his $9,000 contribution.
Whether it was cornerback Jarrett Bush dancing to his intro music, lineman Jason Spitz's nimbleness in the infield or fullback Brandon Miree entertaining the crowd, all in attendance passed the picture-perfect Sunday afternoon with smiles that would not seem to go away.
"We are truly apprecitiative of the support we've got not only at this event but at some of our other events as well," Favre said. "It benefits a lot of people, and we're truly grateful for it."