Packers fans flock to Fox Cities Stadium

Jordy Nelson Charity Softball Game draws more than 8,000 people

Jen Zettel
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Jordy Nelson signs autographs following the Jordy Nelson Charity Softball Game at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
  • The annual charity softball game raised $120,000 for Young Life.
  • This is the third year Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson has headlined the event.

GRAND CHUTE - Green and gold filled Fox Cities Stadium on Sunday, as fans donned their Lambeau Field best for the Jordy Nelson Charity Softball Game.

The annual game drew more than 8,000 fans to the stadium on a picture-perfect day to see the Green Bay Packers show off their softball skills, or lack thereof. People of all ages watched the match-up between the offense and defense, and to snag a few autographs, too.

For Nelson, the best part of the day is seeing how happy the kids are to participate in the event. "They have a lot of fun. The kids out in the outfield trying to catch home run balls run around and it's just fun to watch the storm of people go here and then there," he said.

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After last year's 29-19 loss, the offense had a chip on its shoulder, or maybe the defense felt it would be bad manners to beat the host – Nelson – two years in a row.

Either way, the offense took the game 30-28 in the bottom of the seventh inning on a 3-run home-run by tight end Mitchell Henry.

The fun on the field was apparent immediately. When Jeff Janis stepped up to the plate in the first inning, pitcher Clay Matthews ribbed the Packers wide receiver for taking a big whiff on Strike 1.

Janis answered with a line drive up the middle, narrowly missing Matthews.

The crowd got to its feet every time quarterback Aaron Rodgers, linebacker Matthews and wide receiver Randall Cobb were up.

Rodgers hit two home runs. After the second bomb, he blew a kiss to fans on the third-base side of the field as he trotted to home plate.

The day started with a match-up between Packers players and sponsors and a home run derby. Cornerback Damarious Randall beat long snapper Rick Lovato to take the home run derby trophy.

This is the third year Nelson has headlined the annual game, which is a fundraiser for Young Life, a faith-based nonprofit organization that works with students from middle school through college. Before the game started, Young Life received a check for $120,000. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin received $5,000.

"Giving back in these communities that support us year round, through the good, through the bad … is huge," Nelson said after the game. "Thanks to the sponsors, the fans. We could all come out here and play ball, and if no one showed up we wouldn't raise very much money, so without them none of this would be possible."

Nelson said the cause is something he and his wife, Emily, believe truly helps children. Despite their busy schedules, they find the time to mentor an eighth-grader in Green Bay through Young Life.

"You have time for whatever you want to do. It's all about priorities ... You can find a couple hours a week to help someone out," he said.

Jordy gets the crowd cheering for the next batter during the Jordy Nelson Charity Softball Game at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.

Donald Driver and Brett Favre hosted the event in previous years, and it was a Favre game 16 years ago that punter Peter Mortell and his family first attended.

Sunday, the Green Bay native and former Minnesota Gopher showcased his softball skills as a member of the Green and Gold.

"It was cool being out here in front of everyone. I mean, how special is this? To sell out a game like this in the summer? It was awesome … especially as a player now to give back to a community that means so much to the organization," he said. "You can't beat this."

Dick, Robyn and Amber Trilling, of Grand Chute, have been regular attendees of the annual softball game for years.

The family atmosphere and good weather have been highlights for the family, Dick said.

"There always seems to be decent weather and you get a chance to see the Packer players out of their ordinary environment," he said.

Jen Zettel: 920-996-7268, or; on Twitter @jenzettel

Moments of note

• After Aaron Rodgers hit his first home run, Nelson congratulated him by dumping two bottles of water on him as he walked back to the dugout.

• Damarious Randall showed off his skills on a line drive by wide receiver Davante Adams. The cornerback made a leaping grab to get Adams out.

• Randall Cobb never saw it coming. Cobb was at the plate, staring down Matthews when Aaron Rodgers and Nelson ran up behind him with a full water cooler and doused him.

• Tight end Richard Rodgers launched a home run out of Fox Cities Stadium – the only one of the game. 

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