Game 2 of the AA Eastern League Championship Series was in Trenton Wednesday Night and this is a city that has become used to hosting the playoffs as the Thunder have made 7 postseason appearances in the last 9 seasons. This playoff game gave me a chance to re-visit their ballpark with the purpose of writing a Stadium Journey review. The two biggest changes from my last game there in 2007 are good (new widescreen video board in right field) and bad (name change to Arm & Hammer Park). Otherwise, this is a very typical, mid-1990s ballpark for the Northeast: Brick design, green trussing and seating, open concourse with press box behind home plate and single-level seating bowl split by a walkway. Nothing special, but not terrible and it ranks in the middle of the Eastern League pack for me. For dinner, I had the most bland and boring roast beef sandwich ever with nothing but a bun and four slabs of roast beef. Thankfully, the Water Ice I had later for desert salvaged the blah meal. I will say that the staff at the games are very nice, including the concessionaires and the ushers who frequently were chatting with regulars and saying their goodbyes in what was the last home game of the season.
The game itself was a see-saw affair that ended up being quite entertaining. While Trenton had the offense, Harrisburg made the most of their few hits and walks as they took the lead 2-1 in the fifth inning. Trenton answered back in the bottom half and then the Senators stormed right back in the top of the 6th for a 4-3 lead. The 7th was the deciding inning as Trenton loaded the bases thanks to a pair of walks and a single. Reggie Corona drove in the tying run and then Ali Castro sacrificed home the leading run as the Thunder went up 5-4. The two thousand or so fans on hand were very quiet earlier in the game, but their energy built to a crescendo and they really got into it in the 7th inning, as evidenced by the nice pop in their cheer on the tying run (see below). Trenton hung on during the last two innings and they took a 2-0 series lead to the Pennsylvania’s capital city, where they finished off the Senators to win the Thunder’s 3rd franchise title.