St Paul Saints – Let the Fun Begin
Image courtesy of Image Courtesy of Szer DesignThe first game of the series used a formulas that the Saints hope will work all year: solid pitching + longball = win. Starter Mark Hamburger pitched 8.1 strong innings allowing only two unearned runs and striking out eight. Tony Thomas and Nate Hanson both sent a pitch over the fence to provide all the offense the team would need in the 5-2 win.
The second game saw the pitching staff stand strong again and hold off the Railcats for a 2-1 victory. Four different St. Paul pitchers combined to keep the Gary Southshore offense at bay, while the Saints offense did just enough to secure the win. Tanner Vavra scored the winning tally in the bottom of the seventh on a RBI fielder’s choice by Breland Almadova.
Saturday’s game three was postponed due to rain and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader Sunday afternoon. In the American Association, a doubleheader is a little different than in the major leagues. The teams play two seven-inning games back to back with only a twenty minute break in between.
Game one followed the same script as the first two games of the series. John Straka pitched 5 scoreless innings followed by the Saints bullpen shutting down the Railcats for the remainder of the tilt. Tim Colwell hit a solo shot and Tony Thomas blasted his second homer of the home stand to secure the 4-0 win for our local team.
The final game saw something that the Saints had not run into before in an opening series at CHS Field: a loss. Gary scored early and often while holding off a couple of Saints rallies for a 10-3 victory.
My MVP for the home stand is Tony Thomas. Thomas reminded us quickly that he is one of the Saints big boppers this season. He hit .286 with a double, 5 runs scored, 2 HRs and 4 RBI in the first four games.
Now, on to the fun.
Opening night began with local musician, HarMar Superstar, singing a rocking version of the Mary Tyler Moore theme song by home plate. Live musicians are an aspect the Saints and musical director Andy Crowley have been infusing more and more into the pregame and in-between inning festivities. I think it really adds to the fun atmosphere in the ballpark.
It wouldn’t be a Saints game without all the zaniness that goes on in the stands and on the field during the inning breaks. Entertainment Director, Brian Kelly and his team of Ushertainers, along with Director of Marketing and Promotions, Sierra Bailey and her team continue to put on a great show for the fans. From between-inning races to Chef Sharte taking a pie to the face, the fun never stops. Keep up the great work everybody!
One promotional change from the weekend due to the rainout is that Star Wars Night has been rescheduled to Sunday, August 6th.
After the second game of the doubleheader, the team boarded their bus and headed out on the road for a quick three-game series against North Division foe, the Sioux Falls Canaries. To say there was some runs scored in this series may be an understatement.
The Saints cruised to a 12-5 victory in game one behind two Tony Caldwell home runs and a 5 for 6 night for Breland Almadova. Almadova also had 3 RBI and was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.
The second game saw Mark Hamburger toss a complete game and the offense put up a crooked number again, taking down the Canaries, 8-3. This was Hamburger’s 13th career complete game putting him one behind the American Association record held by Ben Moore.
If, and more than likely when, Hamburger ties and breaks the record the most eye-popping stat will be how many fewer games it took him to get there. Ben Moore tossed 14 complete games in 121 starts. It has only taken Hamburger 43 starts to get to 13.
Game three, we lost 16-3. Enough said.
After a day off the Saints return home Friday, May 26th to face the Kansas City T-Bones for three games. KC comes into the series with a 1-5 record. While the Saints sit at 5-2 on the young season.
Promotions for the holiday weekend include the first bobble head of the year, double fireworks and food trucks. Starting off the fun is Friday Night Fireworks shooting off to the music of the Beatles.The first 1,500 fans Saturday will receive an Ila Borders 25th Anniversary Season bobble head during You Play Like a Girl! Night. And Sunday is Military Appreciation Night followed by a Food Truck rally on the field and a Fireworks Super Show.
After the upcoming home stand the Saints head back out on the road for 13 straight games. This is the team’s longest road trip of the year, due to the high school baseball tournament being played at CHS Field.
The boys first make a stop in Cleburne, TX for four games against the Railroaders and three against the Salina Stockade. Then they travel to Grand Prairie, TX for three against the AirHogs. Lastly they stop in Kansas City for three against the T-Bones, finally returning home again, June 12th. That’s a pretty long time to be away from the ballpark; you might want to swing by during this weekend’s gorgeous weather….
For more on the Saints, including tickets to this weekend's games, stop by SaintsBaseball.com