Fireworks on the 3rd of July
By Doug Newton
Back on July 3rd, the fans walked into Ripken Stadium expecting an early Independence Day celebration with fireworks and some baseball, perhaps a series win for the IronBirds. The crowd left that night with a memory that will last a lifetime. A record-breaking performance on the field in front of the packed stands in Aberdeen created one of those special experiences that remind us why we love baseball.
From the beginning of the game, a buzz of activity filled Ripken Stadium. Fireworks Night on the eve of our nation’s birthday drew a huge crowd of 6,904 fans, breaking the franchise record for attendance. With Aberdeen fans taking an early holiday to watch America’s pastime, the IronBirds did not disappoint.
Ronnie Welty, on injury rehab from Bowie, started the scoring for Aberdeen in the 1st inning with his second homerun in three games. Anthony Vega broke a 3-3 tie with a three-run homerun in the 4th inning to give the IronBirds a 6-3 lead. Even with two homers, the offense was just getting started.
By the time the 8th inning rolled around, the IronBirds had established a 10-3 lead. Fans were getting ready for the fireworks display with an Aberdeen victory nearing completion. But the real show was already under way.
First, a double. Then, an error by Staten Island. Base hit. Base hit. Another double. The excitement in the crowd grew with every hit, 10 total for the inning. The IronBirds scored 11 runs in the frame. In the process, they had extended their lead to 21-3, eventually winning by the final score of 21-7.
The IronBirds needed to rewrite their record books after the last out. In addition to the biggest crowd in team history, Aberdeen set franchise records for runs in a game (21), runs in an inning (11), total runs in a game (28) and the IronBirds tied the team record for hits (19). Every single batter in the IronBirds’ lineup recorded at least one base hit.
Every baseball game has the potential to show the fans something they have never seen before, whether it is a no-hitter or a walk-off grand slam. It is the chance to see something special, the chance to witness history. In front of a record crowd, the IronBirds rose to the occasion and delivered one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments, a memory to enjoy for years to come.