Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Lancaster Barnstormers to rock on opening night Music, giveaways and a fundraiser for a firefighter will help kick off the baseball team's ninth season
BY DAVID O'CONNOR, Staff Writer
Elementary school students -- who are only about as old as the ballpark itself -- will sing the national anthem.
A well-known central-Pennsylvania rocker will perform before the game as fans entering Clipper Magazine Stadium receive 2013 team calendars.
And the team will honor, and help, a Lancaster city firefighter who was injured while battling a fatal city blaze.
These are just some of the highlights being planned by the Lancaster Barnstormers for opening night of the 2013 season, Thursday, April 18.
The independent-league team's ninth season at the ballpark begins when they take on the Camden Riversharks at 7 p.m.
"Opening night is a very special occasion for us," a busy team general manager Kristen Simon explained recently.
"It's baseball, but it's also about bringing the Lancaster community together, engaging the community and doing what we think is special to start the season," she said.
Opening night will have the theme "We Rock!"
Starting the season with a tribute to Lancaster firefighter Lt. Andre Kelley, who's recovering from burns sustained in a fatal fire Feb. 18 in Lancaster city, will be a main highlight of opening night.
Kelley's 14-year-old daughter, Ajanae, and 8-year-old son, Andre Jr., will team up to throw out the first pitch.
The Barnstormers also will donate part of the proceeds from opening-night ticket sales to the injured firefighter, and a group of Lancaster firefighters will be at the opener, in uniform, to "pass the boot" for donations from fans.
Ticket-buyers will be able to purchase the tickets under "Lt. Kelley" on the team website, lancasterbarnstormers.com, with a portion of the ticket sales going to the injured firefighter. Donations also are being accepted at the Andre Kelley Fund, P.O. Box 1235, Lancaster, Pa., 17608.
Noting that opening night has what Simon called a "very rock-and-roll theme," the team will be giving away a free acoustic guitar to a fan, the first of six such giveaways during the 2013 season.
The gates will open early, at 5:30 p.m.
Shea Quinn, lead singer of Harrisburg-based Luv Gods, will perform before the game until 6:15 p.m.
Quinn is probably best-known as a member of one of Lancaster's most popular rock bands, The Sharks, who will hold a reunion at Lancaster's Village Nightclub on Saturday, April 20.
The national anthem will be performed by a group of students from Manheim Township's Schaeffer Elementary School.
The Barnstormers, who fell just one run short of winning the 2012 Atlantic League championship, will hold a record 22 fireworks shows this season, the first two on Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20.
Before the 2013 season begins, the Barnstormers will host their annual preseason kickoff celebration, Fan Fest, on Saturday, April 13.
The free event at the North Prince Street ballpark will start at noon and include a series of events, including an exhibition game against Camden at 1 p.m.
Families can take part in a pregame catch on the outfield grass, kids will be able to run the bases after the game and a face-painter and balloon artist will be on hand from noon to 2 p.m.
For details on Fan Fest, opening night and the rest of the 2013 schedule, visit lancasterbarnstormers.com or call 509-4487.