Offense storms its way to a tie

Donald Driver's charity softball game ends in a fun-filled 35-35 tie, with Matt Flynn hitting three home runs and Nick Barnett jokingly calling the offense cheaters for its late-game strategy.

GRAND CHUTE — After frittering away a 12-run lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, Nick Barnett offered this simple explanation.

"Of course I couldn't find the plate," said Barnett, the defense's pitcher. "I'm not a pitcher."

The offense rallied from a 35-23 deficit in the bottom of the seventh and emerged from a downpour with a 35-35 tie in Donald Driver's charity softball game at Fox Cities Stadium in suburban Appleton.

Barnett surrendered about half of those seventh-inning runs with bases-loaded walks. With the bases loaded and two outs, Donald Driver had a chance to be the hero. Instead, he popped out.

"It was a lot of pressure," Driver said with his usual smile.

The star of the day was Matt Flynn. The backup quarterback won the home run derby in resounding fashion, including a whopping 10 in the first round. He hit two-run homers in the first and third innings and a three-run blast in the sixth. He was at the plate with the bases loaded in the seventh but Barnett dribbled three pitches to the plate for a run-scoring intentional walk.

"That was fun," Flynn said. "Definitely got some good bragging rights for myself."

Jermichael Finley hit two homers for the offense and Brett Goode blasted two for the defense. Other homers for the offense were hit by Duke Preston and Donald Lee. A.J. Hawk, Barnett, Charles Woodson and Aaron Kampman went yard for the defense. Hawk's homer bounced off the glove of James Jones and over the fence, Woodson's shot capped a nine-run sixth inning and Kampman's three-run blast was part of a 10-run seventh.

Of course, the game was all about fun and charity. There was some bickering with the umpires — including Tony Moll kicking dirt at one of the men in blue — and good-natured trash talking during and after the game.

"We knew Nick couldn't pitch that well," Jones said of the offense's strategy in the bottom of the seventh.

"They were cheating. Who does that?" Barnett jokingly said of that strategy. "It's lame. They tried to walk and cheat their way to a tie."

Driver hoped to raise $200,000 for his foundation and a few of his charities. The game drew 4,680 fans on a mostly sun-splashed afternoon.

"When you have a cause that touches your heart, then you go out there and you do everything in your power to make sure it's successful," Driver said.

The game drew many of the Packers' top players, including Greg Jennings, Hawk, Woodson, Barnett and Kampman. Also in the lineup was safety Nick Collins, who skipped the first three weeks of organized team activities as he seeks a new contract and mourns the death of his father.

"It shows you the unity we have with each other," Driver said.

Collins did not speak to reporters, and it's uncertain if he's staying for this week's practices. An e-mail sent late Friday to his agent, Dave Butz Jr., had not been returned as of Saturday night.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.


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