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Blue Wahoos And Cox Honor Legacy Of Chappie James To End Homestand On Juneteenth 

June 19, 2022

The Blue Wahoos were unable to sweep their week-long series against the Tennessee Smokies. But they won the day in other ways Sunday, following a 5-1 loss at Blue Wahoos Stadium on an unforgettable Father’s Day at Blue Wahoos presented by Cox Communications that coincided with Juneteenth, National Freedom Day.

The Blue Wahoos were unable to sweep their week-long series against the Tennessee Smokies.

But they won the day in other ways Sunday, following a 5-1 loss at Blue Wahoos Stadium on an unforgettable Father’s Day at Blue Wahoos presented by Cox Communications that coincided with Juneteenth, National Freedom Day.

In addition to their title sponsorship of the day's festivities, Cox Communications provided 100 game tickets, hats, and food to children in the community and the opportunity for the kids to take the field with the Blue Wahoos! Nino Mendez

Their lone loss in this six-game series with the Smokies still kept the Blue Wahoos on verge of clinching the first-half division race in the Southern League South Division. The other three South Division teams, including nearest chaser Biloxi Shuckers, all lost Sunday as well.

While bats were quieted, the Blue Wahoos still stirred crowd attention among the 4,123 who braved the hot afternoon.

For the first time, the Blue Wahoos wore specialty, all-blue jerseys which included four silver stars in honor of the Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., who rose from Pensacola to become in 1975 the first African-American four-star general in United States Armed Forces history.

James’ decorated legacy included tours of combat duty in the Korean War and Vietnam War, earning him rarefied placement in U.S. Air Force history prior to his death 1978.

His granddaughter, Britt James, who was attending her brother’s wedding in Washington state, provided a video tribute and local members of the Chappie James Flight Academy and Chappie James Memorial Bridge Foundation were recognized on the field.

Then moments before the National Anthem was played, an 11-year-old boy tossed a ceremonial first pitch to a man who been in a stepdad role. On the baseball were the words, “Let’s Make This Official.”

The two melted in each other’s arms with tears as paperwork was presented for the adoption to become official.

Happy Father’s Day, indeed.

There were also youth league teams across the field in pregame warmups as part of a sponsorship from Cox Communications, who provided 100 game tickets, hats, and food to children in the community. In what might be a team record, 10 different people threw out a first pitch.

The game itself fell in what seemed a familiar comeback scenario to the Blue Wahoos.

After trailing 4-0, they had the first two batters on base in both the seventh and eighth innings. Unlike previous home game, late-inning comebacks, the Blue Wahoos (33-25) could not follow with a big hit to extend a five-game winning streak.

As it turned out, however, win or lose Sunday, the Blue Wahoos position for a playoff-clincher would not have changed. Playing hours earlier, Biloxi fell 7-6 in 10 innings, on the road against the Chattanooga Lookouts, ending Biloxi’s four-game win streak.

The Blue Wahoos will travel to Biloxi on Tuesday to begin a six-game series with the Shuckers (30-31) that will end the first half schedule. The Blue Wahoos need just one win to wrap up first-place in the first half and gain a playoff spot for mid-September.

Because each team in the South Division has played a different number of games, winning percentage is what determines the first half winner.

Cody Mincey delivered a solid start Sunday for the Blue Wahoos, working six innings, giving up all three of his runs in the second inning, but not walking a batter in his outing. He had tough luck in the second when a potential double-play was botched with a wide throw, leading into Cole Roederer’s two run single.

The Blue Wahoos got their lone run in the seventh on Jan Mercado’s two-out single, but managed only six hits against three Smokies pitchers. Cobie Fletcher-Vance went 2-for-3 as the Blue Wahoos’ lone multiple-hit batter.

WHAT’S NEXT?

WHO: Blue Wahoos vs. Biloxi Shuckers

WHEN: Tuesday (June 21) through June 26.

WHERE: MGM Park, Biloxi, Miss.

GAMETIMES: Start times are 6:35 p.m. for games Tuesday through Saturday, then 5:05 p.m. on Sunday (June 26).

TICKETS: www.biloxishuckers.com/tickets.

RADIO: : ESPN-Pensacola (99.1 FM and 1330 AM and WYCT 98.7 HD4).

TV: YurView (check provider) and MILB.tv (streaming) through www.milb.com/live-stream-games with subscription discount using BLUE WAHOOS.

NEXT HOME SERIES: Begins on June 28 vs. the Montgomery Biscuits.