CHARLESTON, SC April 10, 2015 – It’s been a long cold winter but here we are folks! Baseball season has returned!Almost 7,800 people turned out to the season opener for the Charleston River Dogs and cheered long and hard as they fought against the Lexington Legends at “The Joe” and what a night it was.
Everything from opening ceremonies to the final pitch had the crowd on the edge of their seat. What I found to be a very interesting way of announcing the home team roster, the River Dogs tradition is to escort all the players and coaching staff into the stadium in yellow taxi cabs. Following a well sung national anthem, Joseph P. Riley Jr., Charleston’s mayor, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to well known celebrity Bill Murray. After Murray and “Charlie”, the River Dog mascot, carried Riley off the field it was game time.
The crowd of 7796, the highest at “The Joe” for an opening night game since 2009, cheered loudly as starting pitcher Jordan Foley pitched a strike to begin the game. As the game played on, both teams battled for the ever so important momentum needed to strike first. Tonight the first blood was struck by Lexington. in the 5th inning, the lead off batter, Brandon Downes, doubled to deep left and would score on a single to center by the very next batter Wander Franco. Lexington would add two more runs in that inning and take the lead 3-0. Charleston would eventually strike in seventh inning with two runs of their own to make the score 3-2. Manager Luis Dorante’s team came up short on a couple of unfortunate plays that could have given them the lead in the seventh inning. Gosuke Katoh would slip while attempting to round third base and stop and would eventually get caught up in the ensuing pickle and Allen Valerio was thrown out at home plate after trying to extend himself on a fielding error by Legends shortstop Humberto Arteaga. The score held the same heading into the final frame as Charleston came back up to bat in the bottom of the ninth. It seemed destiny for the home team with Chris Breen would single back to the pitcher. Brandon Thomas would come on to pinch run for Breen and would eventually steal second base and move into scoring position with only one out in the inning. Unfortunately for the River Dogs, Katoh would strike out and Valerio would fly out to left field to end the game.
One final noteworthy item that caught a few reporters ears was pitcher Caleb Frare returned to action after missing both the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Frare had to have Tommy John’s surgery and was in a car accident that caused him to delay his return. He was able to pitch a very successful 1 1/3 innings and tally 3 strike outs and no walks, hits or runs against him. Final score of tonight’s contest is Lexington coming out on top 3-2. The pitchers had a very successful night with a combined 24 strike outs being thrown by both of the pitching staffs tonight. The Lexington staff tallied 15 while Charleston had 9. The winning pitcher for Lexington was relief pitcher Torey Deshazier and the losing pitcher is Foley for the River Dogs while Zachary Lovvorn picked up the save. Tomorrow night these two teams will battle it out again as the River Dogs look to rebound from tonight’s defeat. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05. I look forward to seeing you out at “The Joe.”