Nowitzki welcomed three players from Santa Fe High School at his celebrity baseball game

FRISCO – Three of the special guests at Dirk Nowitzki’s 2018 Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game were off to the side during Friday’s pre-game press conference at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Their appearance was very noticeable, since they were young and were wearing the same jersey as some of the players who were competing in this charity event.

A few minutes passed before the mystery was solved. The players were Rome Shubert and Trent Beazley — two members of the Santa Fe High School baseball team — and Noah Silva, who is a member of the Santa Fe High School basketball team. All three students were shot when a lone gunman burst into their high school and tragically opened fire on May 18.

In a show of support, organizers at Nowitzki’s event invited Shubert, Beazley and Silva to be part of Friday’s festivities. They figured it would help with the healing process in the wake of eight students and two teachers getting killed during this senseless shooting over three weeks ago.

“We wanted to really show our appreciation for how much we care for the kids from Santa Fe, so we flew them in,” said Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, while acknowledging Shubert, Silva and Beazley. “Thank you guys for coming in.”

Shubert is a pitcher on his high school baseball team, and Beazley is a catcher. Both players were part of a moving ceremony prior to Friday’s game when Shubert threw out the ceremonial first pitch and Beazley was behind home plate to catch it.

Before Beazley, Silva and Shubert left the mound area, players such as Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Herschel Walker and Nowitzki — and numerous others — gathered around them to take a group picture. It obviously will be a memorable one for the ages.

“It’s really great seeing all these people out here with all the support,” Shubert said. “They’re kind of showing support for us and showing support for everybody. It’s pretty awesome to be out here.”

Beazley agreed that attending Friday’s game brought him some comfort during a time when his life has been turned upside down.

“It’s great that they reached out to us and really made a situation better,” Beazley said. “I just like being out here and just being with all the people. I’m excited about that.”

Beazley was shot in the ribs during the devastating event, Silva was shot in the leg and is in a wheelchair, and Shubert was shot in the back of the head. Both players know how fortunate they are to have survived the ordeal, and they’re very appreciative to how folks all around the world have expressed their gratitude.

“People are coming up to me like, ‘This is so awesome that you get to do this and I’m glad that you’re alright and I’m so glad that you’re here,’ “ Shubert said. “It’s all God that’s doing this. It’s all God’s plan.”

So what got the players through this tragedy?

“Baseball,” said Beazley, who suffered from a blood clot due to the shooting. ”The day I got released I went to the baseball field.”

Shubert also said he leaned on baseball to get his mind back on track.

“Baseball is everything,” Shubert said. “Getting back on the field and taking my mind off of everything, it’s pretty much everything for me.”

Even if it was just for a day, Nowitzki was more than happy to put a smile on the face of Shubert, Silva and Beazley.

“They’re both awesome baseball players, so it kind of makes perfect sense (to invite them),” Nowitzki said. “They’ve obviously been through a lot, not only physically but mentally, so I’m really happy that I can honor them and their families tomorrow.

“It worked out and I heard they’re thrilled and their families are too, so hopefully the crowd will give them a warm welcome. Hopefully this will help them get their minds off of some of this stuff they’ve been thinking about, and obviously they’re going through some tough times. So hopefully this can show them a good evening and they can meet with some of the guys – hopefully some of their role models – and just forget about some of the stuff they’ve been through for a day.”

Cuban also was glad the students from Santa Fe could take some time to enjoy themselves at a game they love so much.

“I know it’s been a rough patch for you guys, but hopefully we can have some fun together and really enjoy, and you guys get to hang with these guys and show them who the real stars are,” Cuban said. “So welcome guys and have a lot of fun.”