College World Series ministry bears fruit
by Jay A. Dess
Chairman—9th Inning Ministry
The 2008 College World Series in Omaha was a “sweet” year for 9th Inning Ministry. Several key statistics were:
Omaha Baseball Breakfast with Bob Herold as the keynote speaker, resulted in numerous decisions for Christ. His message was a great and a lifestyle testimony for his faith in Christ by “Choosing the Correct Path.” We had about 400 folks attend and it was a great time. Prizes were given away, and two North Carolina players shared—Mike McKee, catcher, and Adam Warren, pitcher. Chase Jones, North Carolina catcher, and Mike Gallo, North Carolina chaplain, attended and were also recognized. John Knicely, Channel 6 WOWT anchorman, was our emcee and did a great job as always.
Baseball Clinics—We held five baseball clinics and had more than 244 kids/parents at the clinics this year, despite poor weather conditions and soaked fields. Results were still good with many of them accepting Jesus Christ. The clinics featured:
- Russ Ortiz, current San Francisco Giants pitcher
- Brian Hommel, former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher
- Jeff Bajenaru, former Chicago White Sox pitcher
- Bob Herold, former professional player who is now head baseball coach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha
- Chris Gadsden, former Creighton player and assistant coach at University of Nebraska-Omaha. All did a great job and great work for Christ.
Hospital visits—Russ Ortiz, Brian Hommel, Jeff Bajenaru and Bob Herold, all current or former professional ballplayers, visited 31 patients at UNMC and prayed with them and their parents. The patients were given autographed baseballs, testimony cards and crosses. What a wonderful and faithful witness these professional ballplayers had on the staff at UNMC as well!
Hospitality sites outside the stadium during the College World Series—we had our five sites open for all the series. Thousands on thousands received their bottle of ice-cold “Thirst No More” water and had an opportunity to read the gospel message on every label. We handled more than 56,000 bottles throughout the series. We will hand out water at an Omaha Royals’ game later this summer.
Volunteers—This year was the sweetest for volunteers making the 9th Inning Ministry a success for reaching people for Christ and exhibiting the “Fruits of the Spirit.” We had several groups from Omaha, plus others coming from as far away as Paragould, Ark., and Elmhurt, Ill. More than 150 youth helped hand out water during the series.
Results for nine years of ministry at the College World Series include:
- More than 2,069 salvation decisions and follow ups
- 43 baseball clinics held with 7,153 attendees
- 4,000 fans attending the nine Omaha Baseball Breakfasts
- 190 patient visits at local hospitals by professional ball players
- More than 555,000 bottles of gospel-message water handed out to fans
- More than a quarter of a million Bibles, pamphlets, tracts and Bible read-throughs
- Utilizing more than 5,800 volunteers spots filled over nine years
- More than 130 individuals, churches, ministries, and Christian businesses sponsoring 9th Inning Ministry
God bless all those 2,069 people saved as a result of so many people’s prayers and hard work during these nine years of the 9th Inning Ministry. Thanks be to God!