LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The third edition of the Bellarmine University baseball team’s annual First Pitch Dinner will have a distinct regional appeal.
The event, which will take place at 5 p.m. (ET) on Jan. 17 at Amelia Brown Frazier Convocation Hall, always features appearances from either current and/or former Major League players. This year’s celebration of the approaching Bellarmine baseball season under third-year Knights Coach Larry Owens will feature Chicago White Sox pitcher Nate Jones, Oakland A’s catcher Josh Phegley and San Diego Padres hurler Shawn Kelley, all of whom have “Kentuckiana” ties.
A roundtable-type discussion with the current MLB players will be held at the event, which includes a plated dinner and cocktail reception.
Jones was selected by the White Sox out of Northern Kentucky University in the fifth round of the 2007 draft. The Pendleton (Ky.) High School product has pitched in the big leagues with Chicago since a 2012 rookie campaign in which he went 8-0 with a 2.39 ERA in 71.2 innings pitched over 65 appearances. Jones lost much of the 2014 and 2015 seasons due to back surgery and Tommy John surgery, but the 6-foot-5 right-hander did return last season and posted a 2-2 record with a 3.32 ERA in 19 appearances. Through four years, he built a 14-7 record and 3.52 ERA with 181 strikeouts in 168.2 innings pitched.
Phegley is entering his fourth MLB season after playing the first two with the White Sox – who chose him in the first round of the 2009 draft – and last year with the A’s. A native of Terre Haute, Indiana, and a former standout at Indiana University, Phegley is coming off his most productive season at the plate, as he bashed nine homers and 16 doubles with 34 RBIs in 73 games while carrying a .449 slugging percentage for Oakland in 2015.
Kelley has been an MLB mainstay, racking up seven years in the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees and now with the Padres. A graduate of Ballard High School in Louisville who was picked by the Mariners in the 13th round of the 2007 draft out of Austin Peay, Kelley is perhaps coming off his best season as a pro after compiling a 2.45 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 51.1 innings pitched over 53 appearances in 2015. Over his career, the 6-2 right-hander has logged nearly 300 relief appearances and been a strikeout artist, collecting 323 over 284.1 innings pitched.
Tables (of eight) for the First Pitch Dinner are available for $800 and single-seat tickets are available for $110. For reservations and further information, contact Coach Owens at 502-272-8278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are once again excited to host this incredible event on campus,” Owens said. “What a treat it will be for our team, alumni and our extended family to hear our guests insight on the game played at the highest level. We really appreciate Nate, Josh and Shawn and their willingness to be our guests on a special night for our baseball program.
“We have set the bar very high with our two previous First Pitch Dinners, and we look to add two more former or current MLB Players to our guest list for this year’s dinner. We look forward to seeing everyone for what has proven to be a very entertaining evening.”