There are many farms down here in Virginia, but there is also a long tradition, as you know, of minor league baseball.Since I was staying twenty minutes down the road from Lynchburg, I decided to catch the Salem Red Sox when they visited the Hillcats, who recently became a Cincinnati farm team after serving Pittsburgh, and many years ago, the Sox.
99 Degrees on the field at game time at Calvin Falwell Field. and country singer Sarah Darling handled the heat while giving a great pre-game set, including a terrific cover of U2’s 90’s hit, “With or Without You.”
Pitcher Pat Ryan stopped by the corner of the dugout to see family members who have been traveling this summer to watch him play.
Oscar Tejeda warming up.
Ryan Dent, Oscar, and Stomy Pimental lined up during the National Anthem also sung by the Hillcats’ guest, Sarah Darling.
Alex Hassan leading off after one of his two hits.
Miquel Gonzalez throwing some of his own heat as the sun went down.
Drew Hedman on deck.
What would a minor league game be without a dancing mascot. The Hillcats’ “Southpaw” showing his moves over the visitor’s dugout.
The beautiful Virginia sunset, with the temps diving all the way down to 89. .
The seventh inning stretch lacked some participation, but it was followed by “Sweet Caroline.” A generous nod to the Sox from the Hillcats?
My Official Carolina League Ball, signed by Oscar Tejeda, along with my Salem hat
Photos by Thomasox
Right of the Pesky Pole Notes:
One of the more impressive things on the field, besides some of the real power in the line-up, which delivered an 11-2 win, is the powerful arm of third baseman, Will Middlebrooks. Also quite revealing in person is the quickness of Tejeda’s hands at the plate. This is an attribute that seems to display itself much clearer at a live game, especially from the first row. Oscar has great potential and reminds me of Alfonso Soriano. 2009 20th round pick Alex Hassan impresses with a strong swing. The power of 2009 50th round pick, Drew Hedman is more than apparent. Hedman looks to me like a draftee of much higher value.
Attendance is up this year at Minor League ballparks and I was truly happy to be a part of it. Next stop? Maybe the Iron Pigs when the Pawsox arrive in Allentown.