League Stadium wedding is a home runAugust 27, 2018
By JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — There was a wedding Saturday, and for those who attended the ceremony it quickly became clear the nuptials were a bit different.
The first and most conspicuous clue was the setting. Instead of driving over to a local church, attendees of the wedding of Kristopher Weisheit and Brittany Birk pulled into the lot of League Stadium, the home park of the Southridge Raiders, Dubois County Bombers and the film site for the 1992 Tom Hanks movie “A League of Their Own.”
For those who know Kristopher and Brittany, the venue for their matrimonial union came as no surprise.
“I thought it was awesome and it really didn’t surprise me at all,” said Tyler Lampert, who is Kristopher’s cousin and served as the best man in the wedding. “I didn’t even know League Stadium even did that. But it didn’t surprise me and it fits the both of them very well.”
“They both love baseball, so it made sense,” said Jessica Andry, Brittany’s cousin and maid of honor. “Sounded like it would be a very exciting wedding. Very different.”
As it turns out, this particular wedding was the first of its kind held at League Stadium, which has been in operation since 1894. And like most things that turn into historical “firsts,” it was a move borne out of equal parts ingenuity and practicality. And there’s even a bit of poetic flair thrown in for good measure.
Kristopher and Brittany first met in fourth grade after she moved to the area from Crawford County. They quickly struck a friendship that matured into something romantic when they were freshmen at Northeast Dubois High School.
“Our school has this thing called Holiday Ball,” said Brittany as she described the genesis of their dating on that November night. “A friend set us up and we went together. And afterwards I was talking to him and he was like, ‘Hey ,how would you like to go out?’ And he made me wait until the 25th of the month, because it was Mark McGwire’s number.”
The baseball links and themes are strong throughout the couple’s relationship, and it’s all very natural. Brittany is a fan of America’s pastime and Kristopher played for the Jeeps during high school; he currently still plays first base and pitches for the Jasper Reds. But none of what happened during any of his games quite stack up to what happened on the baseball field the day he and Brittany graduated from Northeast Dubois in 2014.
Kristopher got Brittany out on the ballfield under the auspice of taking a few pictures before they walked across the stage. But the real intentions were revealed when they reached the pitcher’s mound.
“I went to the pitcher’s mound and I went down on one knee and asked, ‘Will you marry me?,’” Kristopher said.
He didn’t think of it as a typical “high school sweetheart” love story; he thought of it as marrying his best friend. He remembers never wanting to be away from her, and how they were always able to come together and work out any issues they encountered, which leads to how they found their way to League Stadium.
They started the process of looking for wedding venues over three years ago, and at first they were looking into the traditional churches around the area for the service. But, all the prices they were quoted were a bit out of their range. So as they sought out a different solution, Kristopher was inspired by a suggestion from Brittany.
“One day she makes the suggestion, ‘What about an outside wedding?’” he said. “And I go, ‘Where would we do it?’ And she goes, ‘How about a baseball field?’ I go, ‘I like the idea of that.’”
So they looked into getting married at a baseball field and after settling on League Stadium (Bosse field in Evansville was an option, but it was a bit far to travel), Kristopher was put in touch with Dale Payne, who works at the stadium as a maintenance foreman. Dale ran the idea up the chain and eventually they were able to work out a deal.
“I was surprised that nobody had asked before then,” Payne said. “I thought with it being a nice place in the summertime, I’m surprised after all these years that somebody else hadn’t thought of that.”
So on Saturday the couple and their scores of friends and family gathered to perform the first ever wedding at League Stadium. The groomsmen and bridesmaids lined up along the first and third baseline respectively, and the couple took their vows at home plate. As the priest gave his address and the vows were exchanged, the whole thing gave new meaning to the idea of hitting a homerun.
The newly minted Weisheits plan to stick around Jasper for a while after their honeymoon, as Kristopher takes classes to become a teacher. And perhaps one day he (or Brittany) will be able to tell the school children playing with the old bat and glove just how much baseball has meant to their lives in all the ways that matter.
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