Before the season began, Kingsmen players were gifted with black t-shirts with a specific Bible verse written on the back. The words come from John 20:21, which reads, “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” It’s a verse that precisely fits the Kingsmen’s purpose as a summer collegiate team that competes for Christ and seeks to live out the gospels.
When asked about what the passage means to him, second-year infielder Aidan Rice said, “It goes with our name: Kingsmen Baseball. We’re trying to spread the word of the Lord and that verse is a good reminder of that mission.”
After concluding their play in the Carolinas on Saturday night, the team is set to board a flight to the Dominican Republic for their annual mission trip early Monday morning. It will be a familiar trip for Rice, who will be a part of the trip for the second time after playing for the Kingsmen last summer. Remembering the Dominican players the team faced in 2022, the rising sophomore at Davidson College said, “All they worry about is having fun. They don’t think about anything else––it really opens your eyes.”
Tyler Baker, who is with the Kingsmen this summer as a coach after playing for the club previously, shares a similar perspective to Rice. Recalling the competition he faced during his trips, Baker says, “It’s definitely different…but as far as the level of competition, it’s what you would expect. Some guys are better than what they should be for that age while some are like us and just go out there to get better every day.”
Playing baseball against Dominican teams is just one experience that makes Kingsmen Baseball so unique. How many college-aged athletes get to say they traveled to another country to play foreign teams that speak a different language? The answer: not many. But that’s just it––it’s just one of the many life changing experiences the Kingsmen will have over the next couple of weeks.
As Baker puts it, “Being able to go there and see how happy the people are with what they have compared to what we have here in America…we’re constantly doing things there and it’s a really good escape from here. It sends us back with a better idea of how to go about our days.”
While playing baseball is what the Kingsmen do, it is not who they are. The Kingsmen are a Christian ministry baseball team who, mostly, identify as Christians. They believe in a higher purpose and, as John 20:21 says, are sent out by the Father to do His will. For Bryce Frederick, who will be a red-shirt senior this year at Towson, he feels like he was meant to go on this missionary trip.
“I don’t think I’m here by accident,” the Kingsmen third baseman started, “It’s a special notion to be almost handpicked to be here and get to share the messages of the Gospel with others on this trip.”
As Frederick would explain, he was anxiously awaiting a summer full of baseball, travel, and ministry with the Kingsmen, but life decided to throw a curveball. Before the season began, Frederick’s grandfather passed away causing him to leave the team for a short period to be with family and attend the funeral. “I think, for me, this summer, baseball hasn’t been that much of a priority because there’s so much of life going on for me,” Frederick explained. “The spiritual side of this team has made up for what baseball hasn’t been able to.”
As the team moves throughout the Dominican Republic––serving at orphanages, painting churches, and sharing testimonies with other teams––the spiritual side of Kingsmen Baseball will take the forefront of everyone’s minds. Before each day, the team will hold Bible studies to meditate on God’s word and prepare them for what lies ahead. For Frederick, the Bible studies the Kingsmen have already had have been extremely important for his personal spiritual development.
“For me, the Bible studies bring me a lot of peace,” Frederick began. “Like I’ve said, I’ve had to balance a lot of different things this summer and look for answers from different people. These Bible studies we’ve done, it’s a reminder to give life back to God and help you figure out which voice that’s talking to you is His.”
Similar to Frederick, Mikah Conner has also been significantly impacted by the Kingsmen’s Bible studies throughout the summer. As a rising freshman at Presbyterian, Conner is one of the youngest players on the team and finds himself in a time of growth––both spiritually and athletically––in his life.
“Especially recently, the Bible studies have had a huge impact on me,” the Kingsmen two-way player explained. “ I’ve been thinking about my own faith a lot more and how it’s going to keep on building in the future. In the Dominican, I think the literal messages in the Bible are going to come out.”
Similar to previous missionary trips in the Dominican Republic, this year’s Kingsmen team will soon know what it means to live the gospels. Those parables that were once just words on a page will become a part of their lives––and make them better because of it. Just as the Lord said in John 20:21, the Kingsmen are being sent to do His will.