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By Josiah Schulz
Saturday, June 27th was the perfect day for baseball. An evening neither too hot nor too cold, clear blue skies, and most importantly, stands packed full of spectators from the community. Socially distanced, of course.
“This was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen for a Shockers game.” said the New Market Shockers’s head coach Nolan Potts. “I have been here for 7 years and I don’t think we’ve ever had this many people here. Playoff games, nothing.”
For Pitcher Darrell Thompson, however, the pressure of a packed stadium would not prevent him from having an excellent game.
Thompson, a former Shenandoah University Hornet, would prove essential in the Shockers 5-3 victory vs. the Elkton Blue Sox, pitching 10 strikeouts in 6 innings, holding the opposing Blue Sox scoreless until late in the 6th inning.
When asked what was different about tonight as opposed to a normal night of Baseball, Thompson said this:
“The biggest difference is that the past 2 years I have been a reliever in the Frontier league. 6th, 7th inning guy. I haven’t started a game since 2017. I had my first start again tonight, so it felt great. It was good to come out here and have some competition in baseball again.
Ran out of gas a little bit in the 6th, gave up those back to back doubles on fastballs. 6th inning, just did not have as much life on (some pitches) and guys put good swings on it. Other than that, we scraped together a great win as a team.”
Thompson, alongside fellow Shockers teammate and current Colorado Rockies player Colt Harlow, were only recently informed they would even have the opportunity to compete for the Rockingham County Baseball League this season. When asked how it felt to be able to compete for RCBL, Thompson had this to say:
“Well, it was a little happy and a little sad at the same time. I found out on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week that the Frontier League season would be cancelled due to COVID-19. I had been in touch with Coach Nolan Potts, a former teammate of mine. From the get go, we said ‘if I don’t have a Frontier League this season then I still want to play baseball.’ I don’t need the money. I just want to get out here and throw with these guys.”
This was an emphatic victory for not only the team, but for the community of New Market as a whole. Spending the past 3 months away from any sort of sports or social interactions due to the Commonwealth of Virginia being on lockdown, folks were not only eager to return to the game of baseball, but thirsted for it. This win tonight quenched their thirst.
“An opening day win at home.. nothing gets better than that. It sparks a great atmosphere for the team and for the community, really bonds us together.. and a comeback win? Couldn’t ask for much more.” Thompson said with a bright smile.
The New Market Shockers look to improve their home winning streak to 2-0 against Broadway Sunday night at 6:30 P.M.
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