Revs drop home opener on night of celebration
On most days, given the amount of rain that fell in the area during Thursday afternoon, the York Revolution would've postponed its home game.
But, Thursday's game wasn't just some contest sprinkled in the middle of 70 home dates. To start, it was York's home opener at the newly re-named PeoplesBank Park after starting the 2016 campaign with a seven-game road trip. More importantly, however, it was a celebration — a celebration of the 10th year of Revolution baseball in York.
Before the game against the Sugar Land Skeeters, York revealed 13 of the 25 members of its All-Decade Team and then named Chris Cody, Chris Nowak, Corey Thurman and current Rev Andres Perez to the franchise's Mount Revsmore.
Even though just a small percentage of the 3,519 fans remained in their seats for all of Sugar Land's 9-6 victory, the night was more about the thousand or so who lined up outside the stadium gates in the cold and rain. Their commitment showed the anticipation and excitement surrounding York's home opener, and having baseball back in the city for another spring and summer.
The game: When the game began, the Revs (3-5) rewarded that dedication. After allowing a run in the top of the first, York answered right back in the form of a two-run home run by Telvin Nash to take a 2-1 lead. The Skeeters tied the game 2-2 in the top of the third, but for the second time in the game, the Revs instantly responded. They scored four times in the bottom half of the frame, two of which came on a Joel Guzman double.
But, things quickly came unraveled for York in the sixth. After the Skeeters (5-3) scored a run in the top of the fourth to make it 6-3, Sugar Land tacked on four runs in the top of sixth to take the lead. The big blow came from former York player Johan Limonta, who launched a three-run home run that just cleared the right-field wall to make it 7-6.
"We know they swing 3-0," Mark Mason said about Limonta's blast on a 3-0 count. "We know they do that and this early in the year, it's not a bad thing, especially on the road to get yourself going and to (Limonta's) credit, you still have to square it up. That was a big swing there."
The Skeeters added single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to add insurance and put the game to rest. The Revs had a few hard-hit balls in the last couple innings that, had they fallen, could've made things interesting. But, a few sliding and diving catches by Sugar Land outfielders squashed those chances.
Despite a night that didn't bode well for offense, York did put up a season-high in runs, and considering that the team has only had batting practice once over the last week because of bad weather and a condensed scheduled, it was a positive in a night turned sour.
"Even the outs were hard-hit," Mason said. "But, we need to find a way to hit balls on the ground when we get runners on base. But, the approaches are better and we're not in pull-mode all the time and that's a good sign."
Thomas makes hometown debut: It was also a big night for Dallastown grad Eric Thomas, who made his second appearance of the season and first in front of his hometown crowd. He was one out away from putting up a second clean outing on the year, but a bloop hit fell in shallow center field, and then a loss of command led to back-to-back walks and a run scoring for the Skeeters.
"The best thing that I like is that he comes in and works hard and tries to learn from everybody," Mason said about Thomas. "I think the confidence thing for him initially might have been something where he's in essentially a big-league locker room and that's a big step going from college to this league. But, you get pitching in front of people you know and that's not easy either. ... I like that he's aggressive and doesn't nibble, but he's a young guy and he's learning and everyday he's trying to get better."
Revs' starter Jorge Martinez only lasted 4 1/3 innings before giving way to the bullpen. He allowed three runs on seven hits, four walks and five strikeouts. The loss for York was the team's fourth straight defeat after opening the year 3-1.
The Revs and Sugar Land will be back in action on Friday for the second game of the four-game set. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at PeoplesBank Park.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com