While the sun set Wednesday night, the atmosphere was lively as the North Main Athletic Complex as the Holly Springs Salamanders kicked off their home season opener.
“It’s an opener’s night, so it’s like the inaugural game of the year,” said Gary Spuller, who was checking bags at the gate. “It’s a lot of fun. People are jacked-up. They’ve been waiting for this.”
There were plenty of things to do as fans waited for the game against the Savannah Bananas to start. People chatted as they waited for concessions, kids ran around the open spaces on the far end of the stadium, and adults sipped beers from local brewer Carolina Brewing Company.
After the starting lineup was announced, players lined up to watch the Fuquay-Varina American Legion present the colors while local musician Brian Anderson played the national anthem on his electric guitar.
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From that point on, cheers echoed through the stadium each time the Salamanders made a hit. About 1,250 people filled the stadium, with a capacity of 1,700 people.
Lance Edwards, of Holly Springs, said he returned to the games this year with his children because of the local vibe of the games.
“It just shows support,” he said. “The kids, when it’s a Holly Springs team, and we live in Holly Springs, they really buy into it.”
Woody King, also of Holly Springs, said he felt the same way.
“Just to support the community, this is great,” King said.
The Salamanders also hold events to get fans involved, and King said he was excited to participate in a dance competition during the seventh inning in hopes of winning a free massage.
Jocelyn Brummett and her son, Leith, attended games last year during the Salamanders’ inaugural season with the Coastal Plain League. She said she liked that players, who play at colleges around the country during the year, could get more more experience from playing for the Salamanders.
“It helps the players practice, get that experience,” she said. “They’re all college players, so it gives them extra practice before hopefully getting into the bigger leagues.”
Leith said while he enjoys the food the most, he also thought it was a fun place to come and hang out.
While the scoreboard showed a close score at the end – the Bananas defeated the Salamanders 8-6 – fans like Brummett would be back for more.
“What brought me back was coming with my kids,” Brummett said. “It’s so close, it’s nice to have in the community here.”
Paige Connelly: 919-460-2609, @pconnellly
Want to go?
For a schedule and ticket prices, go to salamandersbaseball.com or call 919-249-7322. The North Main Athletic Complex is at 1151 N. Main St., Holly Springs.