Cape Catfish wear alternate uniforms and hold ceremonial first pitch relay to honor veterans on Flag Day

Hazel Buchner-Welter, Ervin Werner and Ron Seabaugh throw first pitches.
Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 10:38 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The Cape Catfish traded their traditional green and yellow uniforms for red, white and blue ones on Wednesday.

Along with the Flag Day jerseys and handing out miniature American flags at the gate, the Catfish also welcomed three veterans to the mound for a ceremonial first pitch relay.

Cape Girardeau native Hazel Buchner-Welter, a Navy veteran who served with the WAVES during World War II, Frohna native Ervin Werner, an Army veteran who served from 1953 to 1995, and Jackson native Ron Seabaugh, an Army veteran as an Airborne Ranger from 1968 to 1969, each threw out a perfect strike to the applause of fans and players.

The display was organized by Cape Catfish President Glenn Campbell and Avenue of Flags Chairman Dave Cantrell.

“It came off great,” said Cantrell. “The fans, the players, everybody was showing them appreciation. That’s what every veteran wants: your gratitude. They got it today. It was very inspiring and a lot of fun.”

Seabaugh appreciated the opportunity.

“It was an honor,” Seabaugh said. “I’m very proud of my military service. I felt like the youngster here with those two, but I’m very proud to be here.”

Getting to interact with these veterans left a lasting impact on a handful of the Catfish players.

“Blessed beyond my wildest dreams to live in a country that’s free because of men and women like that,” infielder Kolten Poorman said. “Especially the World War II veteran (Hazel-Buchner-Welter). She was wonderful. That was unbelievable. There’s not a whole lot of (World War II veterans) left.”

“The thing that gets to me is a lot of them didn’t come home. We don’t get to shake their hand, but they’re the ones that paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be free and play baseball.”