America's favorite pastime is back! The Hillcats opened the season with more than 3,500 Lynchburg fans rolling into City Stadium on a mild-weathered Thursday night.
Fans young and old were in attendance to celebrate the first day of the spring season. Glen Collins said, "I love Opening Day because I get to hang out with all these good folks I haven't seen all winter." Collins has been a fan of Lynchburg baseball since the late 1940's. "I remember seeing games here when it was the Cardinals playing, and I've enjoyed watching ball here all these years."
Younger fans were making memories as well, like brothers Carson and Chase Eubanks. Chase commented, "Today is a beautiful day for a baseball game." Carson added, "I love getting the free pennant to remember Opening Day. I plan to hang it up next to my brother's bed for him."
Family and baseball have always gone hand-in-hand, especially at Calvin Falwell Field. Michael Williams brought his son, Michael Jr., to Thursday's game to spend the evening watching the season opener together. "It's a nice Opening Day, and I get to be with my son. It doesn't get much better than that."
But don't forget the ladies! Mothers Misty Elliott and Nancy Leonard brought their daughters to enjoy the game day festivities too. "We've been counting down the days to Opening Day," said Elliott. "We love being able to have a cold, crisp beer and bringing our daughters out to enjoy the game with us," added Leonard.
Some attendees had a deeper connection to the first day of the season. Chad Stevens, a member of the Hillcats staff, as well as an avid baseball lover, summed up how he felt about Opening Day: "I love Opening Day because of the atmosphere. I grew up playing baseball, so being here feels like home to me."
The only thing missing from Opening Day was a Hillcats victory. However, the fans that returned Friday and Saturday night were treated to thrilling walk-off wins for their boys in green. Sunday's finale got away from the 'Cats, and they ended up splitting the opening series with the Fredrick Keys 2-2, good enough to be tied for first in the Northern Division.
The Hillcats are ready to hit the road now, but will return to Lynchburg to host the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Tuesday, April 15 at 6:05 pm. General admission tickets will be buy one, get one free presented by ABC 13 and there will be a Kids Club Run the Bases after the game presented by Fox's Pizza Den. That night will also be the first 'Cats with a Cause' Night where the local Salvation Army will be raising awareness and funds throughout the evening. To purchase tickets, call the Hillcats Ticket Office anytime Monday-Friday 9am-5pm at 434-528-1144 or purchase them online.