The first home stand of the season certainly had its highs and lows for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, but one thing is for sure, the baseball didn’t disappoint. Each game was as exciting as the last and it showed with the Sox winning all three of their seven games in walk-off fashion and came close to winning a couple more but fell short.
It all started with as good as a Home Opener as you could ask for with INF Drew Garcia hitting an absolute monster of a home run to dead center well over the batter’s eye to hand the Sox the 11-10 win. But it wasn’t just the final frame that made the game epic, at one point the Sox trailed 8-1 before unloading for five runs in the seventh, including back-to-back-to-back doubles to lead off the inning and another later in the inning. Not only that, but how about that two-run shot by Tim Wheeler in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extras? Then of course there was the blast by Garcia. And although it was by Round Rock, but Adam Rosales’ grand slam to left in the fourth was just an added bonus.
For my first ever Opening Day, I’m sure that will be tough to beat in the future.
The Sky Sox looked as if they would win a late-inning affair the next day, before a fifth-run ninth inning by the Express spoiled it to win by four.
On Sunday, Security Service Field had its first snow out, and could only play one game of Monday’s doubleheader because of the cold.
Tuesday saw another boisterous comeback by the Sky Sox. Trailing by eight, Colorado Springs came all the way back within one thanks to a big three homer inning, including back-to-back dingers from former Clemson teammates Ben Paulsen and Kyle Parker. But the strong effort came up short as the RedHawks sealed the deal with two runs in the ninth.
On Wednesday, it was the Sky Sox who jumped out to a big lead with a six-run inning powered by five extra-base hits (3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer), but OKC came back to win 8-6.
The next day, LHP Tyler Matzek was apart of the first pitcher’s duel at Security Service Field and was brilliant, tossing six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and one walk. Even with the great start by the rookie, it took late-inning heroics by Matt McBride (shown above) to give the Sox the win. In the bottom of the 11th, Jason Pridie led off with a double, and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Tim Wheeler and scored on McBride’s walk-off sac-fly to center that was just deep enough to score Pridie.
THREE STARS OF THE HOMESTAND
With the type of offense displayed in the first seven home games of the year, you can imagine how tough it was to choose just three standouts from the Sky Sox.
After hitting just 3-for-26 to start the season, Paulsen really turned it on at home, including his second career two homer night in Tuesday’s game. His first was on May 24th, 2013 versus Fresno.
LF Tim Wheeler - .364 (12-for-33), six runs, five doubles, three HR , nine RBI
T. Wheeler also performed extremely well in the home stand withe three 3-hit performances. He also hit the Sky Sox’ first inside-the-park homer since 2009 when Eric Young did it.
RF Kyle Parker - .357 (10-for-28), 10 runs, 3 doubles, a triple, two homers, seven RBI
Parker had four multi-hit affairs and the team’s first four-RBI night, and on April 12th vs. Round Rock, he fell just a triple shy of the cycle.