The Chattanooga Lookouts found their way back to AT&T Field on Tuesday night, which could be considered an achievement given the circumstances.
Tuesday was Chattanooga's first home game of the Southern League's second half and the first home game in 20 days. The Lookouts ended the first half on a 10-game road trip and then had four days off for the all-star break before opening the second half with a five-game series at Tennessee.
"I can assure you that these guys are glad to be home," Lookouts manager Razor Shines said. "You can hear it in their voices. We're in a place where we don't have to worry about the fans booing.
"These fans are on our side, win or lose, and it was just a long time to be away from this clubhouse."
Chattanooga's homecoming against visiting Pensacola was a success, as the Lookouts topped the Blue Wahoos 14-10 in a game that contained 26 hits. Casio Grider hit a three-run home run to left field in the second inning and Scott Schebler hit a three-run homer to right in the third, Schebler's blast giving the Lookouts (3-3) an 8-1 lead.
The Wahoos pulled within 9-8 in the sixth inning, but the Lookouts added three runs in the bottom of the inning and two, on Darnell Sweeney's homer, in the seventh.
The start of Tuesday's game was delayed 27 minutes due to wet conditions.
When the Lookouts went on the road after a June 4 loss to Mobile, California Chrome was still seeking a Triple Crown and LeBron James was just hours away from cramping up in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
"It's weird actually getting to eat here and to be around here a while," Lookouts catcher Chris O'Brien said. "It's definitely good to be back. I've never been a part of something where you're away for 20 days. That is a long time away."
Asked what he missed most about being back in the clubhouse, O'Brien said, "Cable."
Schebler, first baseman O'Koyea Dickson and second baseman Sweeney got to call AT&T home June 17 as all-star invitees. That provided some relief, and there is some comfort in that Tuesday was the start of a 10-day homestand that will culminate July 3.
"Now I'm sleeping in my own bed and not in the hotel beds," Sweeney said. "As a hitter, you get used to your field and your backdrop. I think these next 10 games will be a good stretch for us."
Matt Shelton (2-1, 3.67 ERA) is scheduled to start this morning's 11:15 game for the Lookouts, with Jon Moscot (4-6, 2.82) scheduled for the Blue Wahoos.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...