New Orleans Saints FB Heath Evans and over 35 of his teammates took to the diamond on Wednesday night at Zephyr Field to face a team of players from the armed services in the Heath Evans Softball Showdown.
While in the end unlike in Super Bowl XLIV, Evans and his teammate ended just short of the finish line in an 18-17 loss to an all-star group of softball players from the Marines, Louisiana Air National Guard, Army and Navy that work out of the Joint Reserve Base at Belle Chasse (La.), the group of over 9,000 fans that attended the contest enjoyed a fun evening of hitting, pitching and autographs. The event raised nearly $100,000 for the Heath Evans Foundation, which was formed by the Saints fullback to dedicate itself to assisting kids and families that have been affected by sexual abuse
Among the 37 players that participated were fan favorites such as QB Drew Brees, WR Lance Moore, TE Jeremy Shockey, WR Pierre Thomas and LB Jonathan Vilma.
The evening started with a home run derby event featuring the Saints players. Just as he has taken over games on the gridiron when the time dictates it, the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player was the man of the hour in the pregame event. Brees swatted over ten home runs from both sides of the plate to take the honors.
The players then took the field against their friendly foes from the military for a seven-inning contest that went right down to the wire. After going to bat in the sixth inning they had pounded out an 18-9 lead. But the Saints group rallied for six runs in the bottom of the sixth, held their opponents scoreless for the top of the seventh to set up a potential rally, trailing 18-15 going into their final at bats.
The New Orleans players grinded out two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Hitting two three-run homers in the actual game to supplement his home-run derby take, Brees' teammates even put their leader to bat a second time in the final inning, but when he popped up to first base, the comeback would not be complete. However, the fans were not disappointed in what was an entertaining three-hour exhibition.