This Memorial Day saw the opening game of the Sussex County Miners at the gates of Skylands Stadium. The people of northern NJ flocked to see the new team take on the New Jersey Jackals in an exciting opening game that ended with a Miners victory, 4-1.
The crowded stadium sat over 2,000 people as the Miners took to the field and gained an early lead over the Jackals with Johnny Bladel hitting a triple and scoring in the bottom of the third inning. The Miners showed their skills with some amazing plays utilizing a double play to take out Jackals players Anthony Gomez and Jared Schlehuber.
Miners pitcher Kenny Bryant was aware of the base-runners all game and he picked off Jackal, Jamal Austin with ease as he tried to steal second base.
The Jackals made a dire mistake in the bottom of the 6th inning when Jackals catcher, Tony Caldwell made an error sending the ball into the outfield and allowing the Miners to score two more runs.
The game was not perfect for the Miners however. Bryant hit two batters during an inning, giving the Jackals two free bases which eventually led to their only run of the game. Overall, the team played a fantastic game and they fully demonstrated their skills on the field. Fans traveled from all over the county to come see the Miners play and they were not disappointed.
“This is our very first time at the stadium,” said Susie Premus, who traveled to Skylands stadium with her husband. “I love baseball at all levels, I have some god children who play in college.”
The activities at the stadium were not limited to just sports; several local children took to the field during the inning breaks and competed in various activities such as a toss and catch as well as a mascot race. Everybody, regardless of age was excited to see baseball return to Sussex County.
“I have loved baseball all my life,” said Premus. “In 1969, I ran home from school so I could see the World Series. I still feel the same way today.”