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Fans cheer Suns on opening day despite rain

April 09, 2010|By DAN DEARTH
  • Spencer Lawton of Hagerstown cheers on the Hagerstown Suns on opening day Thursday at Hagerstown Municipal Stadium.
By Kelly Hahn Johnson/Staff Photographer,

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  • View the "Suns Opening Day" slideshow!

    HAGERSTOWN -- Watching the Hagerstown Suns is a family affair for Teri Deweerd.

    Deweerd attended opening day Thursday at Municipal Stadium with her daughter, Christina Curry, 26, and granddaughter, Kaydence Custer, 19 months.

    "I like that the players are enthusiastic and trying to make the majors," Deweerd said. "They're very fan-friendly. It's family-friendly."

    Deweerd, who serves as the second vice president of the Hagerstown Suns Fan Club, said she started going to games in 1989 when she was offered tickets at a reduced price. Since then, the love for her home team has only intensified.

    Curry said she got hooked on the Suns when she was 4 years old, the age at which Deweerd started taking her to the ballpark.

    "I grew up here," Curry said. "It's a nice place to come and hang out. All of your friends are here."

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Although heavy rain forced officials to call the home opener against the Hickory Crawdads, the Suns were awarded a 1-0 victory because the game made it past the fifth inning.

Joel Pagliaro, the Suns' assistant general manager, said 4,103 people were in the sellout crowd.

Before the game, fans formed a line that stretched nearly 150 yards from the front gate through the parking lot. A dark cloud lingered overhead but only dropped a few sprinkles on the crowd below.

Hagerstown residents James Bentley and Bill Powers said they didn't mind that the game was delayed for a half hour because of an earlier storm.

"If you're a baseball fan, you're a baseball fan," Powers said. "This is the first time I've been here on Opening Day. A little rain's not going to bother me."

"I'm not really into the minor leagues," Bentley said, "but you have to support the home team. Hopefully, we'll have a fun-filled day."

Bentley said he liked taking advantage of a special offer from the Suns that included four tickets, four hats and four lunches or dinners at Chipotle for $24.99.

Pagliaro said the Suns are trying to offer special packages to make going to the ballpark more affordable.

"We've really focused on the value in our ticket packages," he said. "We understand bringing a family of four can be expensive."

In addition to the ticket packages, the Suns provided extra activities at the stadium for young children.

Maddie Bozenko, 7, of Martinsburg, W.Va., said she liked a station that offered free balloon animals and face painting.

"I play games and do fun activities and eat," she said. "I love the nachos. It's great kids fun."

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