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Ballhawks Gather for West Coast BallhawkFest

10 Ballhawks Gather in Oakland to Snag a Combined 22 balls in First Annual Event

Nick Badders

BallhawkFest participants display the balls they snagged

On May 18th, the 1st annual West Coast BallhawkFest was held in Oakland California, at the Coliseum. There was a ballhawk from the East Coast, ballhawks from the Northwest, all around the Bay Area, and even two McCovey Cove kayakers. Despite the fact that it was a fireworks night, the 10 ballhawks were able to snag a combined 22 baseballs at a very tough ballhawking stadium, in the Oakland Coliseum.

The day started off with 7 of the 10 ballhawks joining up for a pizza lunch at Zachary's Chicago Pizza in Oakland. The group then headed off to the Coliseum, where 3 more ballhawks joined in on the fun. The Badders and Byrnes families met up in the parking lot for a BallhawkFest wiffle ball game, where both Kelly and myself crushed several home runs.

All 22 balls were snagged during Batting Practice that day. Rick Gold led all ballhawks on the day, snagging 4 balls, all of which were BP Home Runs. Ryan Dalton, Spencer Sanborn, and Leiming Tang each snagged 3 balls over the course of the day. Myself, Kelly Byrnes, and Kelly's wife Leah each snagged 2 balls, with Leah's 2 balls being the first two balls she had ever snagged in her life.

My father, Dan Badders, snagged his 2nd lifetime ball at this game, and two McCovey Cove Ballhawks in "McCovey Cove Dave" Edlund and "Splash Hit" Steve Garrison, were each able to snag 1 ball, which is impressive considering the fact that almost every one of their games is in a Kayak in San Francisco. In a sense, they were both fish out of water, as noted by Spencer.

The day was filled with good food, ballhawking success, great baseball, and phenomenal fireworks!

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