News and notes from Nats Park

Greetings, Nationals fans.

As we draw closer to the start of another season of Nationals baseball, there are a number of things to discuss and opportunities to present before opening day.

First off, for those fans who applied to become a 2012 Nationals ball girl, the 25 finalists have been chosen and will take part in the tryouts portion of the process Saturday at Nationals Park.

The finalists who met a series of requirements must prove they have a strong knowledge of the game of baseball and of course, can field a foul ball launched their way. The tryouts begin at 10:30 a.m., so if you were one of the finalists, best of luck!

Also, the Nationals are proud to announce plans to host the second annual Wounded Warrior Amputee Celebrity Softball Classic to be held at Nats Park on April 3.

The softball team will take the field following a Nationals-Red Sox preseason game to face a group of D.C.-area celebrities in a free postgame event to help celebrate the start of the 2012 baseball season.

This event was a huge success last year and quite an inspiration to see so many veterans flash their skills on the diamond. The team is made up of veterans and active duty service members from across the United States who have lost limbs while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Using the latest in prosthetic technology, these extraordinary athletes travel around the country playing able-bodied opponents in an effort to bring attention to the sacrifice and resilience of our military service members.

Fans who wish to attend the Celebrity Softball Classic must have a valid ticket for the April 3 exhibition game. Tickets may be purchased through a special ticket link at nationals.com/wwast beginning Friday, nearly two weeks before single game tickets go on sale to the general public on March 8. For each ticket purchased through the link, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the softball team.

Finally, Zion Lutheran Church will hold its second annual baseball talk at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27 in the church's sanctuary, 2215 Brandywine Lane York, Pennsylvania. This year's event features: Mel Antonen, baseball writer for SI.com and MASN and a Sirius/XM talk show host; Dan Connolly, Orioles/national baseball writer for The Baltimore Sun; and Jim Seip, York Revolution beat writer for the York Daily Record/York Sunday News. The writers will present their thoughts on the upcoming baseball season - Orioles, Phillies, Nationals, all MLB, plus the Revolution and the Atlantic League -- and will answer questions from the audience. There is no admission fee, but a freewill offering will be taken to benefit the church's youth ministry program. For more information, contact the church at 717-767-4673.

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