Wahoos Set Season High for Runs for Second Straight Night in 11-2 Win
Hard to imagine the Pensacola Blue Wahoos scripting a better Star Wars Night.
Even the rain stopped and sky cleared.
On the film's now-celebratory May 4 day, everyone with the Wahoos had the force with them Saturday, complete with a season-high run total and post-game fireworks show as perfect cap to an 11-2 win against the Biloxi Shuckers.
The capacity crowd (5,038) at Blue Wahoos Stadium, which included PGA Tour star Bubba Watson and family, along with 1,000 ticket-holders from a youth sports association, got a full night of entertainment.
"A great moment here with the crowd and everything. It's the best minor league ballpark the Twins have," said third baseman Miguel Sano, the Minnesota Twins third baseman and 2017 American League All-Star who is spending the weekend in Pensacola on injury rehab assignment. He's expected to soon return to boost the first-place Twins.
Sano drove in one of the runs for first place Blue Wahoos (19-10) who advanced their best record in the Southern League and first-place lead in the South Division. He also generated a crowd reaction with his first at-bat foul that traveled far out of the ballpark.
He will be the designated hitter in Sunday's 1:05 p.m. series-deciding finale. The Blue Wahoos have won every series so far this season.
Saturday, the Blue Wahoos won by scoring runs in six of their eight inning at-bats. They blasted a pair of homers into the right-center berm filled with kids, and had every player in the lineup factor into the game box. Some of that due to nine walks issued by four Biloxi pitchers and two infield errors that allowed runs to score.
"We took advantage of the mistakes they made and were able to do some damage," said Blue Wahoos manager Ramon Borrego. "We had really good discipline at the plate. That was one of the best nights we've had offensively."
Luis Arraez and Alex Kirilloff, hitting back-to-back at the top of the order, both had two hits, combined for three RBI and Arraez scored three times.
"I think we really stay focused," said Arraez, who is batting .330. "We do a good job. We play hard every time. We have a great team."
In his third game with the Blue Wahoos, Kirilloff delivered his first pair of RBI. It was also the first time in his professional career he's played first base. He played that position as well as outfield in high school.
"We know he can do that," Borrego said. "We need to keep working with him, but I like what I see. I like the way he moved.
On the mound, Blue Wahoos' Randy Dobnak, a former Independent League teammate with Taylor Grzelakowski, made his first start. He worked four innings, allowing two runs and had five strikeouts. Relievers Adam Bray (2 innings) and Tyler Jay (3 innings) were flawless
Apart from the game, 12 Star Wars characters, more than double the three previous Star Wars Nights, helped the fun flow from the outset.
The Blue Wahoos creative services team, led by Derek Diamond and Adam Waldron, worked months in advance to prepare the event. It paid off with a large advance sale of tickets that overcame the rainy weather that forced the game to start an hour late.
"It's a long process, because we have to approval from Lucasfilm (Star Wars film producer)," said Diamond, assistant director. "The (Star Wars characters) groups who come out, they have to have permission from Lucasfilm to come out. And we also need the rights to play video clips, music, all of the Star Wars content.
"You have to fill out an application. And you need a separate one if you are sporting event. So it is a multi-step process."
The result was a festive experience among families, which was the goal. The Star Wars Night attracts some non-baseball fans.
"You are talking about a film franchise which has spanned 40 years," said Waldrom, the Blue Wahoos creative services director. "It is two and three generations of people and it is a multi-billon dollar franchise. Star Wars and Marvel are the two that have brought in more than a billion dollars.
"So now you have the grandparents, who saw the originals, the parents who saw the sequels and now the kids who watch the new movies. So it spans an entire family."
Navy Federal Credit Union was the game sponsor, including Saturday's post-game fireworks display. In addition to its sponsorship, Navy Federal donated 100 tickets to NAS Pensacola service members.
A massive group of 1,000 plus from the Great Southern Sports Association (GSSA) attended the game.
The National Anthem was performed by Taye Streatz, who was part of Pensacola's Got Talent.
Images from this story
Pensacola Blue Wahoos third baseman Miguel Sano
Pensacola Blue Wahoos third baseman Miguel Sano awaits a pitch
Alex Kirilloff of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos
• Discuss this story on the Southern League message board...
Southern League Stories from May 5, 2019
- Robert Shines in Barons Loss to Lookouts - Birmingham Barons
- Lookouts Save the Best for Last - Chattanooga Lookouts
- Blue Wahoos Win Sixth Straight Series with 9-2 Win over Biloxi - Pensacola Blue Wahoos
- Biscuits Bid Adieu to BayBears, 4-2 - Montgomery Biscuits
- A B-And-C Win: Baez, Chisholm Pull Generals Past Tennessee, 3-0 - Jackson Generals
- M-Braves Go 10 Innings to Complete Sweep of J-Ville - Mississippi Braves
- M-Braves Walk-Off Shrimp 1-0 in 10 Innings - Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
- Shuckers Fall in Rubber Match against Blue Wahoos 9-2 - Biloxi Shuckers
- Smokies Shut out in Sunday Finale - Tennessee Smokies
- Generals Gameday May 5 at Tennessee - Jackson Generals
- Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp: Game Notes, May 5 at Mississippi - Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
- Wahoos Set Season High for Runs for Second Straight Night in 11-2 Win - Pensacola Blue Wahoos
- Consistent Offense from Pensacola Downs Biloxi 11-2 - Biloxi Shuckers
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Pensacola Blue Wahoos Stories
- Wade Vadakin to Accept Southern League Hall of Fame Honor at Blue Wahoos Stadium
- Blue Wahoos Summer Movie Series to Feature Trolls World Tour
- Blue Wahoos to Hold Summer Spectacular on Saturday, August 8
- Blue Wahoos Summer Movie Series Continues with Toy Story 4
- Blue Wahoos Stadium to Host 'Eagles in the Outfield' Golf Experience