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Fr. Victor and I traveled to the T-Bones Stadium in Kansas City, Kansas to play in the 1st Annual Pitching for Priests softball game. I have been looking forward to this game for weeks, and it did not disappoint. First of all, there was a good group of people tailgating before the game. The weather forecast showed a 40% chance of rain for part of the day, but we did not see a cloud in the sky. The weather was absolutely perfect for a ballgame. Fr. Victor and got our jerseys and suited up before the game to get in a few throws for warmup and batting practice.

It was the Kansas City, Kansas Priests/Seminarians versus the Kansas City-St. Joseph Priests/Seminarians, the battle of the borders.  The KCK Archdiocese had four Benedictines from St. Benedict’s in Atchison playing on their team, and Fr. Victor and I represented well for Conception Abbey the Diocese of KC-St. Joseph.

Community America Ballpark, where the T-Bones play, is an awesome place to have a game.  It had the feel of a real, professional game, with all the sights and sounds.  Best yet, was the turnout of fans.  There were over 2,400 people who packed into the stadium for the game.  The event that was sponsored by the Catholic Radio Network 1090AM, raised over $25,000 for Vocations for the two dioceses.  Bishop Finn (KC-St. Joseph) and Archbishop Naumann threw out the first pitch.

The game rules were modified slightly to promote more action and less downtime between innings.  There were 10 batters for each team every inning, this meant there could be 10 outs or 10 runs maximum.  The 10th and final batter of an inning would have to run until tagged out.  I was skeptical of the modification of rules, but it played out rather well.

Below:  Fr. Victor (right) and I before the game.

Initially I was not the most effective at the plate.  We were the visiting team and I batted third in the lineup.  I mistakingly took an inside pitch my first time up and forced a high pop fly to left field, which was easily caught by a priest of the opposing team.  I did the same thing my second time at bat, and I was not pleased with myself.  However, the third time I was up, I was not going to make that mistake again.  I hit a hard grounder to the gap between third and short and had a standup double with a RBI.  One batter later I rounded the bases quickly and scored.  It was one of our best innings, a time when we needed runs because the game was getting too close.

My best contribution was in the field.  I played shortstop for the entirety of the game.  I surprised myself by playing probably the best ball I have played in a long time.  I stopped every ball that came my way and my throws to first base were right on target.  I had one unassisted double play early on in the game.  Our infield was pretty solid.  The KCK team had several throwing errors, an area where our team did much better.  The game had great intensity and everyone was pretty competitive.  The crowd cheered and it was an awesome atmosphere.

Fr. Victor played left field and caught every ball that flew his way.  He was reliable during the whole game.  I think our “Benedictine” contribution to the team was our defense.  Fr. Victor went 2 for 3 at bat, with two singles.

We were up 27 to 21 going into the bottom of the final inning.  All we had to do was keep them from scoring too many runs.  We did exactly that.  The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph emerged victorious, taking home the trophy, 27-25.  It was an awesome experience of priestly fraternity and competition.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was very grateful for the opportunity to play at such a venue.

Below:  After the game, Bishop Finn holding the championship trophy, along with Fr. Victor and I.