Pitching for Priests trophy has returned to Missouri!

Fr. Barry Clayton, pastor of St. Philip Neri, Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Lourdes parishes in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Ks., swings at the ball while Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph vocations director Fr. Adam Johnson acts as umpire behind him at the July 6 Pitching for Priests Softball Game. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

By Megan Marley

After a two-year absence, the trophy has returned to its rightful place.

The priests teams of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas went head-to-head in the 5th annual Pitching for Priests Softball Game, held July 6 at Community America Ballpark. The KC-SJ priests won with a final score of 16-15.

The event, organized by the Catholic Radio Network, serves as a fundraiser for priestly vocations in both dioceses. This year, about $35,000 was raised from tickets, sponsorships and the sale of baseball cards featuring the priest-players.

Playing for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph team were Fathers Steve Hansen, Kevin Drew, Evan Harkins, Andrew Mattingly, Gabe Lickteig, Sean McCaffery, Jayson Becker, Adam Johnson, Curt Vogel, Joseph Totton, Jonathon Davis, Olvin Girón, Justin Hoye, Paul Sheller (OSB), Luis Felipe Suárez, Victor Schinstock (OSB), Adam Haake, Etienne Huard (OSB), Ben Kneib and Alex Kreidler. On the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas team, players included Fathers Daniel Schmitz, Vince Huber, Simon Baker (OSB), Barry Clayton, Scott Wallisch, Viet Nguyen, Pat Sullivan, Dan Morris, Matt Nagle, Carter Zielinski, Nick Blaha, Anthony Ouellette, Mitchel Zimmerman, Jerome Simpson, Abbot James Albers (OSB) and Monsignor Michael Mullen.

Father Justin Hoye at bat during the fith annual Pitching for Preists game. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

Though they’re not professional softball teams, there was enough excitement to keep the roughly 3,500 attendees cheering loudly for both sides.

Kansas started out the first two innings strong, making 6 successful runs against Missouri’s 4. In the sixth and final inning, Kansas almost kept their two point lead with a score of 14-12, but at the last possible moment Missouri pulled ahead to make it a tie of 14-14.

“One more inning! One more inning!!” the fans shouted. They got their wish.

In the extra 7th inning, the Kansas team nabbed one run as Missouri kept up a strong defense. Come Missouri’s turn at bat, Kansas worked determinedly to keep their lead. But with the bases loaded, there were two Missouri batters left: Fr. Victor Schinstock, OSB, monk of Conception Abbey, and Fr. Olvin Girón, parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Presentation parish.

The crowd fell quiet, then…crack! Fr. Schinstock’s runner made it to first, and the priest on 3rd slid home.

Amid wild cheers from the Missouri stands, Fr. Girón knocked the ball to right field—the players circled the bases, and another ran home!

Receiving the trophy on the Missouri team’s behalf was Fr. Jonathon Davis, chaplain at Bishop LeBlond High School and parochial vicar at St. James and St Patrick parishes in St. Joseph, who served as team general manager.

After thanking God, the team, the crowd and Our Lady, Fr. Davis led the entire stadium in singing the ‘Salve Regina’.
“We did the best we can—we got two or three practices in, and we just trained batting,” said Fr. Davis. “We prayed, we offered this for the glory of God and the good of His holy Catholic Church, and we just…had fun!”

“It’s just a great opportunity to give glory to God for the good of his holy Church, a great opportunity to rally our guys together in the priesthood, and the fans coming together for the good of the Catholic Church and the priesthood and to support vocations,” he concluded.

Where will the trophy be displayed? Last time, it was displayed by the front receptionist desk at the Catholic Center. But until Bishop Johnston decides where to put it, it’s in the Vocations office.

It might be an added incentive for young men discerning their vocations to come visit.

“They should come see me anyway, if they’re thinking about priesthood or wanting to talk about their vocation,” said vocations director Fr. Adam Johnson with a grin, “they should definitely come see me.”

Fans stand to cheer as the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph priests team members are announced at the beginning of the 5th annual Pitching for Priests Softball Game, held July 6 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

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Thursday
July 19, 2018
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph