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Two Falcons pursue professional
Baseball enthusiasts often talk about the “glory days,” when players performed more out of a love for the game than for lucrative financial incentives and multimillion-dollar contracts. For two of Messiah’s baseball players, those glory days are now.
On an early June weekend, the Kansas City Royals selected Messiah pitcher Dave Henninger ’05 in the 21st round (out of 50) of the annual baseball draft, and later the same day, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays inked Chris Regan ’05 to a free agent contract. Both players joined teams in the Rookie League, which prepares players for the more competitive Single A, Double A, and Triple A programs: Henninger joined the Idaho Falls Chukars, while Regan signed on with the Princeton Devil Rays. Though the schedule is grueling—a 70-game season with only a handful of days off—both players are excited about the possibilities this experience brings.
“I imagine myself someday playing professional ball in the major leagues,” Henninger says, drawing inspiration from his baseball hero, New York Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson. “I have always looked up to Randy Johnson . . . watching him pitch and his nasty slider striking out lots of hitters. I can only imagine being as good as him someday.”
As both players hone their skills to learn how to play at higher levels of competition, they are also learning how best to carry their faith into professional athletics—an area of society sometimes lacking a visible Christian presence.
“I take my faith and apply it to everything,” Regan says. “I must keep my focus and be a light all the time.” The next step for the two Falcons baseball stars, if all goes well, is some level of class A ball. And both are hoping that their hard work, determination, and faith will help propel them through that system, too, and ultimately on to a major league contract.