Home at last, Baysox open up on offense, 14-6

June 17, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

BOWIE -- The pre-game thunderstorms that pelted surrounding areas spared Prince George's County Stadium last night, so the Bowie Baysox finally settled into their new home.

The Baysox celebrated with a 14-6 victory over the Binghamton Mets before an opening-game crowd of 7,142.

It was a rousing christening for the still-unfinished 9,000-seat stadium where ushers were wiping construction dust from the seats as the fans were about to enter.

Despite a few hitches, Baysox owner Peter Kirk was pleased with the tenor of an opening night which was missing some trappings, but was nonetheless dotted with fireworks in the sky and from the Baysox bats (17 hits).

Kirk said the threat of rain actually helped although the game wasn't a sellout.

"If it hadn't been for the rain, we would have filled up," he said. "But I think we would have been overwhelmed. I'm pleasantly surprised by the size of this crowd."

The Baysox (39-25) never trailed in the game and received an 11-strikeout effort from winner Rick Forney, tying teammate Jimmy Haynes' franchise record.

The top three batters in the Baysox order, Curtis Goodwin, TC Edgar Alfonzo and Alex Ochoa, had eight hits, reached base 11 times, knocked home six runs and scored five.

For punctuation, Bowie scored five eighth-inning runs after Binghamton had pulled to within 9-6. The rally featured the first home run at the park, a three-run shot by Billy Owens over the right-field wall.

"The guys got a little bit of sleep [after arriving from a road trip at 6 a.m. yesterday]," said manager Pete Mackanin. "But it was very little because they were excited about being in this park at last. It's just great to have a home."

This franchise left Hagerstown after the 1992 season and has played at five different home sites since.

A public address system that was installed only yesterday kept cutting off in the midst of Miss Maryland's national anthem rendition, so the fans picked up for her.

And a bank of lights that shone brightly into the box seats behind the third-base dugout were supposed to be aimed at the second-base area on the field where there was a dark spot.

There was no official first pitch, only the tossing of baseballs into the crowd from the warning track by a gaggle of politicians and dignitaries on hand.

"Before we went on our last road trip, I stopped by and it didn't look like much was getting done," said Mackanin. "But here we are. Sure, I'd like a clubhouse instead of a trailer, but it's great just to be home. This will be an outstanding place to play."

Kirk said the first permanent restroom facility will be complete by next week and the light bank will be re-aimed to avoid shining too brightly on the fans.

The Baysox also will address what is a slowly working concession system which Kirk said "was rough. With a packed house, that would have been a disaster."

But the parking situation -- three auxiliary lots -- worked well and the fans didn't seem to mind the inconveniences.

"It seemed like we weren't going to make June 16," said Kirk. "But here we are. It's a tribute to a lot of hard-working people."

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