Opinion

Watch: Royals catcher Drew Butera tries to catch Oklahoma ace Paige Parker

Oklahoma’s Paige Parker.
Oklahoma’s Paige Parker. The Associated Press

Royals catcher Drew Butera doesn’t want you to see this video.

In fact, after his first attempt at catching Oklahoma junior ace Paige Parker’s rise ball — he dropped the ball and nearly tumbled over backwards — Butera chortled to his teammates to delete the video.

Parker, an Independence native and Truman High graduate, threw out the first pitch June 20 at Kauffman Stadium at the invitation of the Royals after helping lead the Sooners to a second consecutive NCAA softball national title.

Before the game, she warmed up with Butera, who caught her ceremonial offering prior to an 8-3 loss against the Red Sox, in the indoor batting cage behind the Royals’ dugout.

Parker’s arsenal of pitches, which have helped her post a 92-15 record with a 1.58 ERA and 29 shutouts in 133 career appearances during the last three seasons, drew a crowd of incredulous onlookers.

Kansas City Royals catcher Drew Butera struggled to catch heaters from Oklahoma softball ace Paige Parker before Parker threw the first pitch at the Royals game June 20.

Near the video’s end, All-Star third baseman Mike Moustakas can be heard marveling at the trajectory of Parker’s rise ball, which has helped her strikeout out 755 against only 439 hits and 172 walks in 679  2/3 innings at Oklahoma.

Parker let Butera off the hook for the first pitch, a fastball that dissected the plate, for the game’s first pitch.

“It was surreal,” Parker — whose favorite player, Eric Hosmer, also watched her pregame show in the batting cage — told SoonerSports.com. “I think it’s like a childhood dream come true to get to meet the players. I don’t think I could’ve ever thought of any of that in my wildest dreams to get to interact with them that much.”

To his credit, Butera didn’t shy away from his praise for Parker and that gravity-defying rise ball: “It was awesome to experience that," he wrote on Twitter. "She is the best for a reason!!!! Rise ball is no joke!!!!”

Read more about Parker’s experience at SoonerSports.com.

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