NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- It was the first normal Opening Night at Harbor Park since 2019, nearly 1,100 days if you're keeping count, but the first Tides game of the season went off without delay in front of more than 7,000 fans to get the 2022 campaign underway.
Norfolk welcomed Charlotte to open up its schedule and wasted no time getting on the board. Pat Dorrian's RBI groundout with the bases loaded in the first inning gave the Tides a 1-0 lead, but that would be the only run Norfolk would be able to muster. The Knights tied the game in the fourth inning on a Carlos Perez solo home run, took the lead in the eighth and added an insurance run in the ninth to hand the Tides a 3-1 Opening Night loss.
Kyle Stowers, the top position player prospect currently on the roster, reached base in all three of his plate appearances, tallying a first inning double in which he brilliantly beat the shift, working a third inning walk and getting on in the fifth inning when he was hit by a pitch. He exited the game for precautionary measures in the seventh inning.
Despite the defeat, it was still an otherwise successful opening at Harbor Park. After the 2020 season was cancelled and the delayed 2021 campaign opened with capacity restrictions, both thanks to COVID-19, normal Opening Day festivities returned. Among the crowd were a number of first responders, some of whom sang the national anthem, others throwing out the game's ceremonial first pitch.
News 3 caught up with a handful of fans, some longtime Tides faithful, others who were younger and seeing baseball for the first time. Regardless of how many times they've been at the ballpark, these fans were excited to get to the stadium and take in the entire baseball experience.
The Tides get back to action on Wednesday night as their series with Charlotte continues. First pitch is set for 6:35 PM.