By Joshua Ford, Waccamaw HS (Pawleys Island, South Carolina)
In a season where wins are scarce for the Lexington County Blowfish, fan support means everything. If the crowd is not into the game, then the players are not as energetic as they could be.
The summer league team, the Lexington County Blowfish (3-11), beat the Forest City Owls (9-4), 7-2 on June 15. Lexington was just coming off of a great upset game against the No. 1-ranked Florence Redwolves, beating them 4-1, winning their first home game of the season.Though for many fans, their joy went beyond the game.
Several fans throughout the game were talking about the exciting things that go on throughout the stadium and why they come out to games. Alex Haney, a staff member, says he believes this team can make a turnaround.
“Oh, I think it’s definitely possible, especially since you know, we beat the number one team. They were undefeated so I mean these guys (Forest City 9-4 after game) are pretty good, 9-3. I think it’s possible,” Haney said.
When Haney spoke about the exciting activities here at the stadium, he talked about some of the games they had for the kids.
“Oh yeah, every game before the game, we have the reading program for the kids where they just walk around and the parents are more than welcome to join them,” he said.
Other fans like Joel Deason, a first-time visitor, say they come out to games for good memories.
“Just for good family experience, just to get out the house and, you know, introduce my son to baseball. He’s two years old and this is his first baseball game. He likes sports.”
Another fan, Ashten Green, is an off-and-on attendee. She said she comes to games for her family.
“It’s fun for the family and the kids,” she said. “They love baseball.”
First-time attendee Nick Megill said he saw the potential for a season turnaround and making memories at the stadium.
“Maybe, maybe yeah, I mean, if we beat the number one team yesterday, I didn’t even realize that, so I think so,” Megill said. “I think they’re gaining some momentum and maybe that momentum will carry throughout the season.”
Megill went on to talk about his favorite moment from the night, saying, “I would say the kids being able to take pictures with the mascot. They really enjoyed that, and since they enjoyed it, I enjoyed it.”
After the game, some of the players spoke on fan interactions. North Greenville University pitcher Avery Greer, 22, emphasized the importance of the fans.
“Obviously, it’s, like, influential. It gives you an extra boost, it makes you feel better that you know you have some fans that support. Obviously, teammates are important with that,” he said.
With that said, Greer’s sentiment shows the importance of fan and player reactions going hand-in-hand. If one goes bad, so does the other. They counteract each other and form a perfect balance to give everyone a winning chance.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, there was a 30-minute weather delay for lightning, and the majority of the fans left. After they left, Lexington didn’t score another run.
“Yeah, I’m a closer so I’m a back-end guy, so obviously getting the crowd on your side and getting the momentum shifted in your favor is obviously huge and it influences your outings,” said Greer, who pitches usually late in games.
Greer, like the fans, is optimistic about the potential this team carries.
“Yeah, obviously, we started off pretty slow but we all knew we had talent on the team, it was just getting the chemistry and now we kind of know what it feels like to play as a team and get a couple of wins,” he said. “So obviously, we’re excited to kind of see where that goes.”
Greer also talked about hearing the crowd roar two years ago and how he doesn’t get to really pitch in front of many big crowds. He also was taken back to his high school years when he won two state championships.
“When I was in high school, my summer team won two national championships in the same season with the East Cobb Braves so obviously, that was pretty exciting. We got to go out and compete against teams cross-country. Got two rings so, national championships are cool.”
Outfielder JT Stone also had positive things about the fans.
“If we didn’t have the great support from the Lexington county and people all over to come watch games I mean, it wouldn’t be as an enjoyable game to play and we just love the fans, we just feed off of them and they just give us tons of energy.”