BayHawks Pull out All the Stops for Fans on Military Appreciation Night
ANNAPOLIS, MD - Fireworks and marching bands and skydivers - oh my!
Chesapeake is pulling out all the stops for their home game against the Boston Cannons to make sure their battle to remain in first-place is one to remember. With three games left in the season, the team wants to make sure its fans, and all those who are seeking action-packed weekends, are treated to a great atmosphere.
This Saturday, August 17th at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the Bayhawks' Military Appreciation Night will be headlined by a free fireworks show following the Bayhawks' battle against the Boston Cannons which starts at 7:00 PM EST.
Besides the fireworks, much more is planned. In the Lexus Tailgate Zone, which opens at 4:30 PM EST, the team's sponsor, Leidos, will be transporting in their Leidos LIVE interactive experience truck for fans to explore. The truck will be accessible starting at approximately 5:45 PM EST.
The always-popular car smash will return to the tailgate for the final time this season. Fans can let off some steam and take their strongest swing to dent the Cannons adorned car. Proceeds from the car smash will be donated to a local charity.
In the tailgate, as well, will be members from Baltimore's Marching Ravens, the Baltimore Ravens' (NFL) very own marching band. The Marching Ravens, who will be performing in the Lexus Tailgate Zone, will also be performing live in-game.
On top of all these activities, the Bayhawks will have a skydiver from Team Fastrax parachute in to kick off the game.
These experiences all are in addition to the normal fanfare that the team brings, including their Call of the Flock siren, t-shirt tosses, team introductions, videoboard show and more. The Bayhawks will also be recognizing members of the military community throughout the night.
Members of the American Gold Star Mothers will be in attendance with their families as the Bayhawks honor their fallen loved ones.
Meanwhile, the Bayhawks will welcome lifelong Annapolis resident and Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame member Alan Pastrana as this week's celebrity guest. Pastrana, who starred in football and lacrosse at Annapolis High and the University of Maryland before playing in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, will sound the "Celebrity Siren."
This weekend, the Chesapeake Bayhawks will work to solidify their spot in first-place, taking another step towards their hopeful Major League Lacrosse (MLL) post-season berth. Chesapeake (7-3) sits atop the standings after defeating Denver (6-4) last Saturday night. A victory against the Cannons (6-4) on Saturday would put the Bayhawks in a position to clinch in Week 12.
"This is another important game and we're hoping to keep the positive momentum going," Chesapeake Head Coach Dave Cottle said. "I'm very happy to say that we have been improving every week."
"We're playing much better lacrosse on both ends of the field," Cottle continued. "Offensively, I think we've been very efficient and very unselfish. We're sharing the ball and making the extra pass. Defensively, we've settled into a regular rotation and developed some solid chemistry. We're communicating and working together."
Last Saturday, Chesapeake scored nine unanswered goals to take a commanding halftime lead against the Denver Outlaws. The Bayhawks then held on defensively in the second half to defeat Denver, 12-9.
Chesapeake was without faceoff specialist Kenny Massa in that matchup and his absence was felt. The Outlaws captured 23 of 24 draws with Max Adler winning many outright.
"What that game showed is that our Plan B for faceoffs isn't working," Cottle admitted.
In response, Chesapeake picked up a pair of faceoff specialists on Monday in Kevin Massa and Matthew Pedicine.
Kevin Massa was drafted 26th overall out of Bryant University by the Charlotte Hounds in the 2015 MLL Collegiate Draft and played three seasons with that franchise. He is the older brother of Kenny and this marks the first time the two brothers play on the same team in their professional careers. The last time the two played alongside each other was in 2015 when both were playing for the Bulldogs.
Pedicine is a rookie out of Hobart, where he holds the school's record for career faceoff wins (618) and groundballs (324). Pedicine is on the team's Practice Squad.
"Kenny has been practicing against his brother and said it's been a real challenge, which is very encouraging," Cottle said, discussing Kenny's training away from Annapolis. "Pedicine was one of the top faceoff guys at the college level and has a lot of potential."
Cottle noted that, recently, Kenny Massa has not had anyone to work against in practice and the two free agent signings solve that problem. Additionally, the Bayhawks are playing back-to-back games next Saturday and Sunday - a situation that calls for a second faceoff specialist.
In addition to these two free agents, the Bayhawks signed another pair of players on Friday just before the noon transaction deadline. Erik Evans joins the team, being signed from the Atlanta Blaze's Practice Squad. Evans attended Ohio State University and was drafted 47th overall by the Atlanta Blaze in the 2018 MLL Collegiate Draft.
Tyler Barbarich, a faceoff specialist from the University of Delaware and current assistant with the University of Maryland, will join the Bayhawks' practice squad as its sixth member.
Attackman Lyle Thompson continues to lead the league in scoring with 52 points on 35 goals and 17 assists. He is a leading candidate for Major League Lacrosse's Most Valuable Player distinction and has sparked an offense that is averaging almost 14 goals-per-game.
Savvy veteran Steele Stanwick stands ninth in MLL with 33 points (15G, 18A) while Colin Heacock is not far behind with 27 (22G, 5A). After experimenting with Heacock playing midfield for a few games, the Bayhawks returned the third-year professional to attack where he has flourished.
Heacock has scored 12 goals since switching back to attack, doing most of his damage while dodging from behind the cage.
Chesapeake has found success with a 2-2-2 offensive alignment that features Heacock and Stanwick behind the net, Thompson (left) and rookie Andrew Kew (right) on the wings and two midfielders up top.
Meanwhile, the Bayhawks have solidified their defense with three-time All-Star Jesse Bernhardt providing the glue that has brought the unit together. Chesapeake leads Major League Lacrosse with the fewest goals allowed with 121 goals against. This is 11 less than the league's second-best team, Dallas.
"I think Jesse Bernhardt has taken his game to another level and has simply been outstanding in every respect," Cottle said. "Jesse has been playing with a purpose and has become the unquestioned leader of our defense. He can play up top, down low or on the wing of faceoffs. He's a great communicator and a terrific man-to-man cover guy."
Rookie Warren Jeffrey has given the Bayhawks a big, strong defender that can body up on powerful attackmen such as Dylan Molloy and John Grant Jr. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound product of the University of Vermont brings a level of grit and toughness that the team loves having on their defense.
Chris Fennell has been playing at a high level since returning from an injury that sidelined him for a few games. The 2017 graduate of the Naval Academy possesses superb stick skills and has provided a boost in the clearing game.
"I thought Fennell, Bernhardt and all the poles have been getting some really tough groundballs that we weren't getting early in the season," Cottle said.
It is fitting that Fennell will play a prominent role on Military Appreciation Night. The Milford, New Jersey native is active duty in the United States Navy and is serving at Naval Base San Diego.
Boston, who briefly moved into first place of Major League Lacrosse after beating Denver two weekends ago, is led offensively by attackmen Mark Cockerton and Will Sands, who have both amassed 36 points.
Nick Marrocco, who was a first team All-American as a senior at Georgetown in 2018, has emerged as one of the top goaltenders in MLL this season - ranking third with 119 saves.
"Boston has three of the biggest midfielders in the league and they are all strong dodgers," Cottle said. "It is a dangerous attack with a solid crease guy in [Connor O'Hara], a lefty catch-and-shoot guy in Cockerton and a run around guy in Sands."
"This is a very solid Boston team that challenges opponents at every position, and we'll have to play very well in order to win," Cottle added.
The Bayhawks take on the Boston Cannons Saturday night, August 17th at 7:00 PM EST at Navy Marine-Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. The game will be broadcast live on Stadium and MyTV Baltimore.
Again, Saturday evening's game will feature a post-game fireworks show, an appearance by the Marching Ravens, and the return of the Bayhawks' skydiver. Tickets for Military Appreciation Night are available at thebayhawks.com/tickets or can be purchased through the Chesapeake Bayhawks Ticket Office by calling 866-99-HAWKS or emailing [email protected] The Lexus Tailgate Zone will open at 4:30 PM and feature live music, photo booth, games for kids and complimentary Bud Light for ticket holders 21 and older.
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Major League Lacrosse Stories from August 16, 2019
- BayHawks Pull out All the Stops for Fans on Military Appreciation Night - Chesapeake Bayhawks
- MLL Week 10: Inside the Numbers - MLL
- Denver Outlaws Look to Win Season Series vs. Dallas Rattlers on Saturday in Frisco, Texas - Denver Outlaws
- MLL Week 11 Preview - MLL
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