Blake Ursch Wins Fourth Place in College Personality Profile Writing in Hearst Journalism Awards Program

William Randolph Hearst Foundation Journalism Awards Program

San Francisco (April 5, 2013) — Missouri School of Journalism senior Blake Ursch won fourth place in the College Personality Profile Writing category in the 53rd annual Journalism Awards Program sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Blake Ursch
Blake Ursch

Ursch wins a $1,000 scholarship for his placement, and the School receives a matching grant.

Ursch won for “Former Bat Boy Works to Keep KOM League Alive,” his story of John Hall, who 50 years before was a batboy for the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League. The story ran in the May 5, 2012, issue of the Columbia Missourian. Here is an excerpt from his winning entry:

The computer screen in front of him shows a spreadsheet with 1,588 names. Hall closes his eyes and asks you to select a name.


Hall doesn’t hesitate: Jimmy Heavner was from Sayre, Pa., and played for the Ponca City Dodgers. He only played maybe a game or so.

But that wasn’t really fair; he saw where you were pointing. Try again.


Dale Hendricks is from Bremerton, Wash. He played for Ponca City for a year, left, and came back again. He raised as close to full-blooded wolves as you can get.

John Hall
John Hall is a former bat boy for the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League and has spent a large portion of his retirement chronicling the league in books and newsletters. Photo by Sam Gause for the Columbia Missourian.

One more. Scroll down this time.


William Wesley Mullenaux played for Pittsburg in 1947. He was born in 1927 in Carroll County, Md., and died in Sykesville, Md.

If you had to keep going, Hall could keep up. Of the 1,588 names on the screen, Hall has contacted 1,400 of the players themselves, or friends and family if they are deceased.

There were 113 students from 64 universities who participated in the program’s fourth writing competition of this academic year.

Judging the writing competitions this year are: Ward Bushee, editor and executive vice president, The San Francisco Chronicle; Marty Kaiser, editor and senior vice president, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and John Temple, managing editor, The Washington Post.

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program is conducted under the auspices of accredited schools of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication and fully funded and administered by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. It consists of five monthly writing competitions, two photojournalism competitions, three broadcast news competitions and four multimedia competitions, with Championship finals in all divisions. The program awards up to $500,000 in scholarships and grants annually.

Updated: July 15, 2020

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