Pitching for Priests Series Tied at 2 – 2

Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr. on the pitcher’s mound during the June 2 Pitching for Priests softball game. He and Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas pitched and batted during the game, as did the vocations directors for both dioceses. (Megan Marley/Key Photo)

By Megan Marley
Digital/Social Media Coordinator

The Pitching for Priests trophy will remain in Kansas City, Kansas.

For now.

The 4th Annual Pitching for Priests softball game held June 2 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark ended with a close score of 18-17, in Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas’ favor.

The game, organized by the Catholic Radio Network (KEXS AM 1090), helps fund and promote vocations to the priesthood in both the Archdiocese and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, while providing an opportunity for priests on both sides to have fun together and encounter the people they serve on new turf. This year, over 2,400 people came to cheer on their priests and bishops, $35,000 was raised (before expenses) to divide between the two vocations offices.

The game started with the Kansas City-St. Joseph team making a good lead through the first three innings: 15 points to Kansas City, Kansas’ 10.

But KCK defense kicked in in the 4th inning, cutting off all but one run for Missouri while Kansas got in 4 runs. After that, KCSJ made only one successful run against KCK’s defense in the 5th inning, while the Archdiocese edged forward by two runs.

The 6th inning decided the game. Three KCSJ runs were stopped at home plate, keeping the score at 17-16 when KCK came up to bat. Despite a few batters getting outs, the final KCK batter Father Dan Morris brought home the trophy with a hit out to right center field, allowing a man to run from 1st while making a home run himself.

The KCSJ team took the loss in stride.

“It still was great to see the priests of our diocese all in one place, and the Kansas City, Kansas guys—I’ll be going with a few of them to Kenrick in St. Louis,” said seminarian Ben Armentraut, who played in the game. “And it’s a great chance to play baseball: haven’t had the chance to play that much in the past four or five years.”

Father Justin Hoye of St. Thomas More parish in Kansas City, MO drives the ball to left field as Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Naumann, Msgr. Mike Mullen and the crowd watch, during the 4th Annual Pitching for Priests softball game on June 2. (Megan Marley/Key Photo)

“Pitching for Priests is a great event and I appreciate the work Catholic Radio does in organizing,” said Father Adam Johnson, vocations director for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

“It’s a fun thing for the dioceses on both sides to bring Catholics together in a spirit of competition, and for raising money for training new priests in seminary. It’s also a great opportunity for young kids at the game to see priests are normal people too and to maybe start thinking about their vocations,” he continued. “Congratulations to the priests of KCK on winning a closely contested game.”

But the Diocesan team isn’t planning on letting KCK keep the trophy next year.

“I felt we were robbed and I want a rematch. Next year we get a rematch: the series is tied two to two, so it will be the tie breaker,” said, Father Adam Haake, parochial vicar, Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish.

“Our strategy for next year: we’re trying to recruit from people who play baseball professionally to be priests,” he said with a chuckle. “But we’ll be doing batting practices more, how to throw in-field and cut off guys. We’re becoming more serious.”

“And if you know of any minor-league guys who want to be seminarians instead of pursuing the majors, they should join our diocese.”


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November 26, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph