Blue Wahoos Celebrate Holiday Series Win Against Biscuits

July 4, 2024

written by Bill Vilona
None of the previous 13 saves Blue Wahoos reliever Austin Roberts recorded this season carried the emotional attachment of the latest one.

Not even close.

Overcome with emotion hours earlier, after his mother surprised him by throwing a ceremonial first pitch – the first time in two years she was healthy enough to see him pitch – Roberts channeled a racing heart and ended the ninth inning on pop out to preserve the Blue Wahoos 4-3 win against the Montgomery Biscuits.

On this eve of Fourth of July, as the Blue Wahoos welcomed an overflow crowd that filled Blue Wahoos Stadium in every corner, the final moment before fireworks launched was the most memorable.

Roberts and his mother again embraced on the field, this time after Roberts was doused with a celebratory ice bath.

His mother and her boyfriend traveled from California – a trip that took 40 hours — to be with her son.

“Oh man, it’s amazing,” said Roberts, speaking to Blue Wahoos’ broadcaster Carter Bainbridge following the game. “I haven’t seen her in two years and (Wednesday) was the first time she was able to watch me play professionally. So it means a lot, so God bless, all glory to God and I’m just excited and hopefully they can come out and keep watching us play.”

His teammate Jacob Berry set up the joyous occasion in the bottom of the eighth.

After the Biscuits tied the game in the top of the eighth inning on a two-run blast by second baseman Tanner Murray, well beyond the left field, Berry led off the bottom of the inning for Pensacola.

He squared up a second-pitch cutter from reliever Nelson Alvarez and launched a moon shot deep into the sky, over the party deck areas in right field and out of the stadium.

It was Berry’s second, game-deciding home run in five days. Last Saturday, he delivered a three-run shot to give the Blue Wahoos a comeback win at Biloxi.

This one at home capped a night with so much festive activity. The list included eight different ceremonial first pitches.

A special pregame recognition and in-game presentation was held for iconic Pensacola sports personality Dan Shugart, whose final sportscast on WEAR-3 was a last Friday.

With all this going on, the Blue Wahoos win made the night complete.

They quickly got the crowd energized in the first inning by scoring two runs on one hit. Jakob Marsee and Berry both started the inning with walks. On a steal attempt, Biscuits pitcher Trevor Martin made an errant throw, followed by another errant throw from center fielder Mason Auer to score Marsee and send Berry to third.

Joe Mack’s double scored Berry.

The Blue Wahoos had only two hits in the game until Marsee’s seventh inning single scored Cody Morissette for a 3-1 lead.

Berry’s heroics led to Roberts getting ready in the bullpen.

“It’s just staying loose out there,” said Roberts, whose 14 saves lead the Southern League. “We have a lot of fun out there in the bullpen.”

In the pregame activities, Roberts’ mother hid near the visitors dugout during the previous ceremonial first pitches. Austin was then summoned for a final one. When he got to the plate and saw his mother going to the mound, he put his glove over his face, overcome with emotion.

The two then had a long hug before walking back together as the crowd cheered.

Blue Wahoos starter Jeff Lindgren then took over on the mound for the game and delivered five solid innings before Chandler Jozwiak, Matt Pushard and then Roberts followed.

Following the game, both teams left on busses to travel to Montgomery, Ala. for a three-game series at the Biscuits’ home ballpark, Riverwalk Stadium, through Saturday.

After that, all teams will get Sunday and Monday off, before the schedule resumes with the Blue Wahoos playing a six-game series in Huntsville, Ala. against the Rocket City Trash Pandas.

GAME NOTABLES

— The sold-out crowd of 5,038 was the Blue Wahoos 19th sellout in 42 home games. ,

— Wednesday’s game was also the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity outing with a group outing of 250.

— The Blue Wahoos played a special tribute to Dan Shugart from team owner Quint Studer, which aired on Shugart’s final broadcast last week. He was presented a customized decorated rocking chair in Blue Wahoos design.

— There will now be a 16-day gap between home games, the longest in franchise history. The combination of the Fourth of July schedule, a road trip to Rocket City, followed by the Major League Baseball All-Star Break that includes all Minor League Baseball levels as well, is the combination for the extended gap.

WHAT’S NEXT?

WHO: Blue Wahoos at Montgomery Biscuits

WHEN: Thursday Thru Saturday. Game Times are 6:35 p.m on Thursday-Friday, 6:05 p.m. on Saturday

WHERE: Riverwalk Stadium, Montgomery, Ala.

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