(May 29, 2021 – York, Pa.): Playing in their first game in 609 days, simply returning to the field was victory enough. But for the York Revolution and an Opening Day crowd that braved the elements on Saturday night at PeoplesBank Park, the home team’s performance was the cherry on top in a 5-2 triumph over the High Point Rockers to open the long-awaited 2021 season.
With temperatures hovering around 50 degrees and persistent mist throughout the evening, the Revs took the field after Friday’s scheduled opener was postponed due to weather and the Revolution wasted little time to show off their offense.
In the bottom of the first, Welington Dotel got the first hit of the season on a one-out knock up the middle to get things started. Then all with two outs on the board, Nellie Rodriguez collected a base hit to left and Carlos Franco worked a walk to load the bases and set the stage. Josh Vitters broke the ice with a two-run single to left field to open the scoring for the season. Rashad Crawford followed suit with an RBI double off the right field fence, and Carlos Castro topped off the inning with his own two-run single through the right side. All in all, five runs crossed on five hits to tie a Revs home opener record for a first inning (2017) and put the Revs in front 5-0.
High Point starter Craig Stem (0-1) was chased after three innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out three.
Alex Sanabia (1-0) did not disappoint in his Revs debut on Opening Day. The MLB vet allowed just two runs on two hits with six strikeouts in 5.1 innings. The right-hander held High Point to just one hit in his first five innings before running into some trouble in the sixth.
After a leadoff single from Cesar Trejo, Sanabia got James McOwen to fly out to right. After back-to-back walks that loaded the bases, however, manager Mark Mason elected to go to the bullpen.
Alberto Rodriguez inherited the bases-loaded situation and Michael Russell got the better of the Revs reliever with a two-run double to left, cutting the lead to 5-2. Rodriguez limited the damage from there, retiring two of his next three to maintain a three-run lead after 5 ½ innings.
Both bullpens kept it quiet in the later innings. High Point kept York off the board for five innings, using five total relievers, but York’s ‘pen made the early lead stand up.
Brandon Fry stranded a pair of Rockers in a scoreless seventh, retiring the third and fourth hitters in the High Point order to end that threat.
Bubby Rossman fanned a pair and allowed just a two-out single in an impressive eighth inning.
Jim Fuller, the 2019 Atlantic League Closer of the Year, made his Revs debut with two punch outs and a game-ending ground out in a perfect ninth.
Notes: While the game was the Revs’ first in 609 days (also 20 months and one day), the victory was the club’s first since Sept. 24, 2019 (613 days), and the first at home since Sept. 22, 2019 (615 days). York improves to 9-5 all-time on Opening Night, 5-3 at home. The Revs have won nine of their last 12 openers, and four of their last five. York is now 7-5 all-time at home vs. High Point, having won seven of the last nine at PeoplesBank Park. Several milestones are on the horizon, as Saturday’s win was the 898th in franchise history and the 497th at PeoplesBank Park. It was also the 495th for Mason as manager of the Revs. Sanabia became the 11th different Opening Day starter in 14 seasons for the Revs and is the first Revs starter to win an opener since Frank Gailey in 2017. Sanabia’s Opening Day start was the fifth of his career, improving to 2-1 in openers; it was his first since winning a Mexican League opener for Tijuana in 2017. Chris Vazquez made his pro debut as the Revs’ starting shortstop and reached base all four times, going 2-for-2 with two walks and the game’s only stolen base. Nellie Rodriguez reached base all five times, tallying a single, double, and three walks. Vitters played second base for the first time in his career, handling a team-high five ground outs.
Up Next: The Revs and Rockers will continue their four-game series Sunday with a seven-inning doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. Duke von Schamann will make his 2021 Revs debut in game one opposite former Revs lefty Luke Westphal. Game Two will feature LHP Austin Nicely on the mound for York and RHP Ricky Knapp for High Point. It is a Sunday Funday presented by Weis Markets, featuring Pregame Catch on the Field, Bark in the Park, and Postgame Kids Run the Bases. Tickets are on sale at YorkRevolution.com, (717) 801-HITS, and in-person at the Shipley Energy Ticket Office.