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Ball bashes side mirror on priest's car - and guess who hit it?

040722BASEBALL-HITS-PASTORS-CAR

A baseball signed by Troy Stokes Jr., a Major League Baseball player, is seen with the message, "Sorry for hitting your mirror," and given March 14, 2022, to Father Jeffrey Dauses, a Baynesville, Md. pastor. Stokes, a free agent who most recently played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, hit a ball out of the stadium at his Catholic high school alma mater during recent batting practice with the school's team. The ball took out the side mirror on Father Dauses' car as he was driving by. (CNS photo/courtesy ather Jeffrey Dauses)

 

By George P. Matysek Jr., Catholic News Service

 

        TOWSON, Md. (CNS) - Father Jeffrey Dauses thought for sure someone had shot at his car.

        Driving along Putty Hill Avenue in the Baltimore suburb of Towson Feb. 17 on a shopping run, the pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Baynesville heard a loud crash and saw pieces of a side-view mirror fly up onto his windshield and then off his Honda CR-V.

        "It felt like a meteorite had fallen on my car," Father Dauses remembered. "It scared me to death and I almost went into the other lane."

        The object that hit the priest's car wasn't from the barrel of a gun or from another world. It had been launched from the baseball stadium at nearby Calvert Hall College High School.

        Troy Stokes Jr., a 2014 alumnus of the Catholic college prep school and a major league baseball player who made his big-league debut last year with the Pittsburgh Pirates, hit the ball during batting practice with members of the high school team.

        The Owings Mills resident, a former four-year starter and a star outfielder with Calvert Hall, occasionally visits the current high school team to share his experience of the big leagues, answer questions and offer tips.

        "It was the last ball I hit -- and I hit it pretty good," said Stokes, who was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the fourth round in 2014 and is now a free agent. "I hit it just right to left field, over the net."

        Stokes, who attended Cardinal Shehan School in Baltimore and sometimes worshipped at New All Saints in the city's Liberty Heights neighborhood with his grandmother when he was a child, estimates that the spheroid flew about 400 feet. The longest ball he ever hit was in the minor leagues when he belted one an estimated 480 feet.

        Father Dauses said he realized what had happened to his car after pulling over and seeing a baseball rolling along the side of the road. He was in touch with Calvert Hall, whose leaders arranged for Stokes to sign a ball for the priest. The souvenir was presented to Father Dauses March 14.

        "Sorry for hitting your mirror!!" Stokes printed in blue ink on the ball.

        Father Dauses told the Catholic Review, Baltimore's archdiocesan news outlet, that damage to his mirror turned out to be relatively minor and cost only $35 to repair.

        He was happy to receive the autographed ball, which now rests in a coffee mug on his desk. He noted that more than half the boys in his parish elementary school's eighth-grade class have been accepted to Calvert Hall.

        "My car got hit on the day that Calvert Hall was sending out the acceptance letters to all those eighth graders," Father Dauses said with a laugh. "On the very day they're getting their letters, I get a baseball that smashes into my mirror. It was just kind of funny."

        Stokes said he is grateful for his years playing for Calvert Hall. He said the school has the best baseball program in Maryland. He still relies on lessons taught to him by his high school coaches.

        "They got me the exposure that I needed," he said.

        Father Dauses, who played in the Shrine of the Little Flower's junior athletic association's baseball league during his own grade school years, considers himself "pretty much the worst player ever."

        "I played in the outfield so far out that not even Troy Stokes could possibly have hit a ball to me," he said.

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