What a nice start for the American Association's fourth season last night (Thursday).
Three of the five games went 10 innings, and the only one decided by more than two runs was one of those affairs in which Sioux City, IA outlasted El Paso, TX, 4-1. That outcome spoiled what could have been a glorious start for the Diablos since 7,902 fans showed up at Cohen Stadium.
Fort Worth, TX had the second best crowd of 4,872, which should easily rank among the top 10 Opening Day turnouts when all teams have opened by mid-June. The Cats were one of only two home teams to win, outlasting Metroplex rival Grand Prairie, 7-5.
JASON PERRY STAYS HOT
When outfielder Jason Perry was lured away from the Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers to join Tampa Bay's Double-A club in Montgomery, AL he was blistering Atlantic League pitching to the tune of a .361 average with league-leading totals of six homers and 15 RBI in only nine games, as we reported a week ago in our Independent Baseball Insider column.
He had only his second hitless game out of seven he has played for the Biscuits last night, but the 28-year-old out of Georgia Tech still is hitting .333 (9-for-27) against Southern League hurlers with two homers and five runs batted in. His on-base percentage is a healthy .438
It will not be easy finding room in the Rays' outfield, but if he keeps up the pace Tampa Bay brass will most certainly take notice. Perry knows what it feels like to taste the major leagues since he got into four games with Atlanta last season.
NORTHERN LEAGUE OPENS YEAR 17 TONIGHT
Has it really been 17 years since the re-birth of Independent Baseball? Numbers do not lie, with the Northern League starting its 17th season tonight (Friday) and the Frontier League following suit next Wednesday.
One early NL highlight will come Sunday when the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks entertain 4,082 fans who helped save that upper midwest region from more recent flood damage. Yes, every one of the 4,082 free tickets have been distributed, with that number corresponding to the Red River's record crest of 40.82 feet.