This worked perfectly into my schedule, though, so I set off with my dad to watch game one. (My family and I are staying in Chambersburg, Pennyslvania right now. We will be in Virginia tomorrow.)
As I do before every minor league game I’ve ever attended, I checked the rosters to discover if any Valley League alumni might be there. Both Hickory and Hagerstown had one such player: Adam Parks (Charles Town 2013) is a reliever for Hickory, while Dale (D.K.) Carey (Luray 2011) plays center field and bats cleanup for Hagerstown.
Before the game, I got a chance to talk to Dale, and he was very kind and well-spoken. I’ve found college players to be pretty open in talking to strangers, but minor leaguers less so, and major leaguers even less so than minor league players, but Dale was very kind. (It makes sense, really- major league players have so many demands for their time that they almost have to be wary.)
I missed Adam before the game, but I caught him afterwards. I had some history with him, as I interviewed him in 2013 after he threw a perfect game on June 29 against Woodstock. Adam was also very kind and well-spoken, as he was back during our interview. (In a side note, Adam’s family, from Eastern Shore, Maryland, was also attending, and I got a chance to chat with Jeff, Adam’s dad, for a bit during the game.)
In the actual game, Dale played an important role in the Suns’ 2-0 victory. First of all, in the 4th inning, he hammered a single into the right center field gap to break up a no-hitter, and end the 0-0 tie. The next inning, he ran down a Josh Morgan drive in the right center field gap to end a Hickory rally. Dale is clearly a fan favorite- he easily got the biggest cheer from the Suns fans when his name was announced.
Adam did not pitch in the first game.
Here are some shots from the game: