Last night the minor league baseball season ended with the Omaha Storm Chasers triumphing over the Durham Bulls in the Gildan Triple-A National Championship game. It was a good game and a great event. There really was something for everyone yesterday at Coca-Cola Park.
At 2 p.m., in the parking lot of our beautiful baseball paradise, there was the "Ultimate Tailgate Party" presented by 99.9 the Hawk. Open to the public and with discounted food and beverages, free games to play, a chance to win $99,000 and good music, it was the perfect afternoon retreat for a night of championship baseball.
ESPN radio was also on the scene with the "Happy Hour" interviewing the voices of the IronPigs, Jon Schaeffer and Matt Provence throughout the show.
The gates were opened earlier than usual, which gave fans the chance to watch the Storm Chasers take batting practice. This may not seem like much, but it did give some fans a chance at a batting practice ball, whether it be a home run or a foul ball, getting to come home from any game with a ball hit by a professional is something to tell your mother or brag to your friends about.
As the pregame festivities began, the Budweiser Clydesdales made there way into the stadium and paraded around before stopping in center field for the National Anthem. This by the way, was their last stop of their nine-day Lehigh Valley visit.
Next, the lineups were delivered and the Durham Bulls took to the field as the home team under a perfect September sky. It wasn't long to get a leader in the game as the Storm Chasers an RBI two out double by Lane Adams, who was brought in a batter later to take the lead 1 - 0.
That was the score until the Storm Chasers added an additional run in the top of the sixth. Through those first six innings, with the national television audience looking on, it was business as usual at the park. Little kids got to run around the field popping balloons dressed as piglets, the Dancing Dirt Dudes did their thing and our Pork Racers went the long way around the park, only to have Annie, Crash and Nuke from Durham assist Hambone in finishing the season with a win.
Back to the game, Storm Chasers starting pitcher Chris Dwyer had a perfect game with two outs in the seventh inning, that was where is perfection would end as Tim Beckham hit a ball through the infield for Durham's first hit of the night. An inning later, Leslie Anderson hit a pinch hit homer to cut the Storm Chaser lead in half 2-1.
The Storm Chasers went down in order during the top of the 9th and we were all set up for a dramatic finish one way or another. And it did get dramatic, with two outs, Durham managed to get a single and a walk to get the tying and winning runs on base, before the Storm Chasers brought in another pitcher who came in throwing strikes to end the minor league season on a K with a win for the Omaha Storm Chasers.
They did what you'd expect next, they stormed the field in celebration.
It may have been cool, but it was still warmer than it was back in April on opening night and it may not have been our beloved IronPigs but it was still two good teams and whether it's your thing or not, the underdog did win the championship.
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs deserve a lot of credit for hosting, not just a well put together game, but a great event. It may not be back for a while, but the Durham Bulls are hosting the 2014 Championship Game and they have quite the act to follow!