Josh Kendall

Celebrating a new union in sweltering style at USC baseball

Newly weds Justin and Kelsey Kata stop by Founders Park after ceremony
Newly weds Justin and Kelsey Kata stop by Founders Park after ceremony

Not many couples would consider a baseball game in nearly 100 degree heat an appropriate wedding reception, but not many couples are as steeped in South Carolina athletics as the newly minted Justin and Kelsey Kata.

The new couple caused a stir Saturday afternoon when they showed up at the Gamecocks 2016 Super Regional game against Oklahoma State at Founders Park just moments after their wedding at St. Joseph’s in downtown Columbia. Justin Kata was a USC swimmer from 2002-2008 and Kelsey ran cross country at the school from 2005-2009.

Their trip to the baseball game was a, pardon the expression, spur of the moment decision. The wedding party was driving around town in a catered bus seeing the sights in the 45 minutes between the nuptials and the more formal reception at the Alumni Center.

“We had time to kill so we thought, ‘Why not?’” Kelsey Kata said. “Go see the Cocks play. My bridal party is awesome for putting up with it.”

The general consensus among the dozens of fans who shouted well wishes to the couple was that Kelsey Kata was the awesome one for braving the elements on a day when the official temperature at first pitch was 94 degrees.

“Almost every other person” shouted their support, Justin Kata said.

The couple and the groom’s brothers, all still in their full wedding attire, scalped tickets for $5 each to get into the gates, while the rest of the wedding party peered in through the fence. Justin and Kelsey stayed for nearly 15 minutes, catching some of the fourth inning.

“The plan was to kind of drive around and see what was going on,” said the groom’s brother Christian Kata. “We were like, ‘Hell, let’s go to the baseball game.’”