There's always a different feeling when it's opening day in baseball. Lexington County Baseball Stadium was buzzing all evening with new promotions to celebrate the Season of the Stars...and Stripes. A sellout crowd of 2,375 filled the stands to cheer on the 2018 edition of the Blowfish. Noah Hinzman got the start on Opening Night for Lexington, but he ran into a bit of trouble in the third inning.
Forest City was able to scratch across four runs in the third. Hinzman plunked two batters in the inning, and the defense behind him gave up two errors. Forest City was able to stretch the lead to six runs, with the score being 7-1 after seven innings.
Lexington County hitters struggled all night against Forest City starter Canaan Silver hurled five innings of one run baseball. Blowfish hitters couldn't catch up with his slider, and the fastball was just unable to be hit consistently throughout the night.
With that six run deficit looming large in the bottom of the eighth, Chaney Rogers launched a solo home run over the right field wall to cut the deficit to 7-2. The home run was the first of the season for the Blowfish and really seemed to swing the momentum. That homer seemed to give Lexington's hitters the belief that the Owls pitchers could be hit.
Trey Watts worked a quick top of the ninth on the mound, turning it over to the Blowfish bats to make something happen.
Two singles by Isaiah Lewis and Sean Parsons put the Blowfish in business early. After a strikeout by Brennan Strovink, Jared Williams was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Chaney Rogers, after a home run in the eighth, showed tremendous patience and drew an RBI walk. After a 2 RBI single by Connor Tate, the tension grew thick at the Fish Tank. Carson "Mac" McCurdy singled to shortstop, allowing Chaney Rogers to sprint home.
Suddenly, the Blowfish were down just 7-6, with the winning run on base. After a passed ball allowed the runners to move into scoring position, Chandler Redmond took a disciplined approach with two outs, and his at-bat being the last chance for Lexington. After an even 2-2 count, Redmond fouled off several pitches in a row. Then with the runners extending their leads, Redmond lined a fastball into right field. Owls right fielder Joe Vranesh had a bead on the ball, but it sailed past his glove and over his head!
Redmond's walk-off single gave the Blowfish their first win of 2018, along with Marshall McDonald's first win as head coach of Lexington County. After last season's 0-8 start, this win was crucial to getting the 2018 campaign off to a good start.
Lexington County (1-0) travels to Macon tonight to take on the Macon Bacon (1-0) in their home opener at Luther Williams Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 pm.