Lancaster Wins It All

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.

Charlie Brown does a victory dance, shouting, "They won! The Stormers won! The Stormers won!" as his sister Sally looks on from their front step and say, "Wow!"

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.

The exterior of Clipper Magazine Stadium from the lots behind the stadium. A giant inflatable Cylo greets you.
Clipper Magazine Stadium, approaching the center field entrance. I always park in the overflow lots on this side of the stadium because they’re easier to reach from the direction of York.
Otterbein United Methodist, Lancaster.
Otterbein United Methodist–you can see this from the grandstand, and I arrived early enough before the game to walk over here.
The main entrance to Clipper Magazine Stadium, as seen from across Prince Street.
Clipper Magazine Stadium, half an hour before the gates opened
A lighted Christmas tree erected on the stadium concourse
A Christmas tree on the concourse
A 2022 Playoffs logo has been painted on the field grass.
A “Playoffs” logo has been painted onto the field. This was not there for the division series last week.
Cylo, the mascot, looks a bit alone and sad on the field grass behind home plate.
Cylo, the Barnstormers mascot, stands forlornly at the microphones behind home plate.
The teams are lined up along the baselines during player introductions.
Player introductions pre-game. The Barnstormers’ starters were being introduced at this point.
The Junior Marines, holding an American flag on the outfield of Clipper Magazine Stadium before the Star-Spangled Banner.
The presentation of the colors by the Junior Marines.
The managers are exchanging the line-up cards at home plate. The game is about to start.
The exchange of line-up cards.
The top of the first inning. Oscar de la Cruz is pitching for the Barnstormers. He would throw a complete game and receive series most valuable player honors.
Let’s light this candle!
A pinkish, overcast sky in the west at sunset, beyond the outfield walls.
One last sunset at the Clip.
The packed grandstand as seen from beyond the left centerfield wall in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The bottom of the sixth. I needed to stretch my legs–it was cold and my knee ached.
The Barnstormers celebrate on the field after their victory, and their fans celebrate along with them.
Fans depart from Clipper Magazine Stadium into the night, following the Barnstormers 6-1 victory over the High Point Rockers to claim the Atlantic League title.
Departing Clipper Magazine Stadium

That’s all for 2022, but don’t worry. Baseball will be back soon.

Published by Allyn Gibson

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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