This happened last night.
And I was there!
So, too, apparently, was Charlie Brown, who went home to his sister Sally, very happy and excited.
I was In Lancaster last week for games 1 and 2 of the division series against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Lancaster lost game 1, though they made a furious attempt to claw their way back in the very late innings, and they were on the ropes in game 2 until they made a furious effort to claw their way back in the very late innings.
If you’d asked me, last Thursday, if I expected another game in Lancaster — and another game would have been in the Atlantic League finals — I’d have told you no. Southern Maryland had owned the Barnstormers all season long. Southern Maryland put themselves on the cusp of going to the championship series by taking game 3 in Waldorf. And then, on the brink of elimination, the Barnstormers put it all together, winning two straight elimination games to knock off the Blue Crabs and punch their ticket to the Atlantic League championship series.
That series opened in High Point, North Carolina, against the High Point Rockers. The ‘Stormers steamrolled the Rockers in games 1 and 2, and for last night’s game 3, the action returned to Lancaster. I bought my tickets for games 3 and 4 earlier in the week — if the series went five games, I planned to buy that ticket when needed — and, with the weather turning yucky as the remnants of Hurricane Ian pushed a storm system up the coast I wondered if I’d see Lancaster complete the sweep for the title Friday night.
The Barnstormers did not disappoint, scoring all the runs they needed in the bottom of the first. With Barnstormers pitcher Oscar de la Cruz making only one mistake — a pitch in the second that landed on the grassy berm beyond the outfield wall in left center — I began counting down the outs. Others were as well. The crowd buzzed. And a kid a few rows in front of me was trying desperately to pump up the crowd as the game went deeper into the night.
I’d seen three title-winning games — Trenton over Harrisburg in 2013, Bethesda over Baltimore in 2017, and Trenton over Bowie in 2019 — and this was the first time it was a team I followed was the team that was on the cusp on winning it all in front of the home crowd. (The Baltimore Redbirds could have won it in 2017, but they were playing on the road in Bethesda, and they lost that game early, as I recall.)
It was really quite exciting.
I filmed the final out — Quincy Latimore, former Harrisburg Senator and Bowie Baysock, struck out — and the running out onto the field and the fireworks and the crowd losing their collective minds. I haven’t looked at it. It’s possible none of it turned out.
Then there were post-game fireworks, and an absolute zoo in the team store where they had championship shirts ready to go, and then I went home.
I did not buy the championship shirt. By the time I got there, all they had were smalls.
Here are some highlights.
And, amusingly enough, I appear, though not clearly, in a picture the Rockets posted on Twitter. In the first photo, top left corner, three over? A person wearing a red hoodie and a dark hat? That’s me, wearing the 2014 Nationals postseason hoodie I bought at the 18-inning game in DC, when much of the crowd had left and a howling gale blew through the stadium. That hoodie has served me well. I wore it to the Nationals World Series parade, too.
I have photos. Let’s see what I have.
That’s all for 2022, but don’t worry. Baseball will be back soon.