SRP Park's boys of summer in gear

·2 min read

Jul. 5—NORTH AUGUSTA — Fans of the Augusta GreenJackets are getting a large helping of action in early July, with the Atlanta Braves' Low-A affiliate having 10 games to start the month.

Most recently, the GreenJackets had a four-game home stand versus the Columbia Fireflies, splitting the July 1-4 series 2-2, and in keeping with tradition, Independence Day fireworks shows were part of the mix (July 3 and 4), including attendance of 5,306 for the final game.

SRP Park is on track for a six-game series (July 6-11) versus the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, and the first game's opening pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

The GreenJackets began this week at 24-29 overall, as did the Pelicans, who are affiliated with the Chicago Cubs. The Charleston RiverDogs (Tampa Bay Rays) have been the Low-A East South team to beat so far, entering this week at 26-16, with the Fireflies (Kansas City Royals) as the nearest competition, at 27-23.

The weekend's high-profile moments off the diamond included a successful marriage proposal, with GreenJackets Willie Carter, from Lake City, Florida, popping the question to Emily Bowen, of Valdosta, Georgia.

The team also has an unusual situation in terms of a connection with the town of Champaign, in central Illinois. Right-handed pitchers Alec Barger and Tanner Gordon, are both 23-year-old 2016 graduates of Champaign Central High School.

Barger wound up playing collegiate ball at North Carolina State, and Gordon did the same at Indiana, and the Braves picked both of them in the 2019 draft (Barger in the 17th round and Gordon in the sixth). Both also made their pro debuts in Virginia, playing for the Danville Braves.

Their hometown newspaper, The News-Gazette, acknowledged the unusual situation in a feature story, quoting Barger as saying, "We almost take it for granted. The guys on the team do a good job reminding us how crazy it is ... I told them we knew each other since middle school and they're like, 'What?' It's very surprising for them."

So far this season, the toughest Low-A teams within the GreenJackets' traditional traveling territory have included the Delmarva Shorebirds (Baltimore Orioles), starting this week at 35-17, in the East North; and, in the East Central, the Carolina Mudcats (Milwaukee Brewers) and Down East Wood Ducks (Texas Rangers), both beginning this week at 30-23.

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