With the spring weather finally emerging upon the Baltimore-Washington area, the DC Padres have once again come together to begin their 2013 slate of games. The Padres, a baseball team composed of priests and seminarians with high school and college level experience, routinely compete against varsity teams from local Catholic high schools. On Sunday, April 7, the Padres squared off against the reigning Virginia state champions from Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, VA. As has become a custom, the Padres most recent contest was played at a local minor league venue, the Potomac Nationals’ G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, VA. While the Padres fell to the talented Paul VI Panthers by a score of 10-5 in their latest affair, the team holds a 3-2-1 overall record since their inaugural season in 2011. Despite the loss to Paul VI, seminarian Kevin Dansereau (S’ 15, Arlington), a former standout on the James Madison University club squad, came in on relief to hurl a solid 5 2/3 two-run innings. While the team is composed of seminarians, priests, and brothers from various dioceses and religious communities, seven members of the 2013 roster are current seminarians at Mount St. Mary’s. Dansereau is joined by catcher Adam Cesarek (S’ 15, Peoria), outfielder Deacon Shaun Foggo (S’ 13, Washington), shortstop Matthew Hoelscher (S’ 14, Peoria), second baseman Noah Morey (S’ 15, Arlington), first baseman Jeremy Smith (S’ 18, Baltimore), and outfielder Tom Venzor (S’ 18, Omaha) as the 2013 Mount representatives.
The establishment of the DC Padres is due to the efforts of Washington’s Fr. Larry Young who began organizing the team a few years back after recognizing the abundant baseball talent among the priests and seminarians in the area. While the players relished the opportunity to play against high level talent on professional fields, the purpose of the team is to raise awareness and interest in the great vocation to the Catholic priesthood in the context of a fun family event. As such, Fr. Young works diligently to ensure the games can occur at minor league parks while also advertising in the area parishes. During each game, an unorthodox “third inning stretch” is held in which the crowd is addressed by a religious figure on the topic of vocations. Seminarian Thomas Gallagher (S’ 15, Arlington) offered a brief reflection on vocations during this past outing against Paul VI. Additional pictures, video, and other information about the DC Padres can be found on their website www.dcpadres.com.