The Chattanooga Lookouts are faring much better at the turnstiles than in the standings a quarter of the way into the Southern League season.
Chattanooga entered Sunday with a healthy average attendance of 4,042 at AT&T Field. The Lookouts averaged 3,395 fans during last year's rain-plagued season, and this year's pace is ahead of 2012, when they averaged 3,522.
That season was Chattanooga's best at AT&T since 2004.
"We've had a tremendous start this year," Lookouts general manager Rich Mozingo said Sunday afternoon. "The city has shown up, and I think we've put together a good product for them to come out and see. We've had a Star Wars night and some fireworks nights, and it's just been a tremendous start."
Mother's Day crowds have typically been minuscule, and Sunday was no exception as an audience of 1,500 watched the Lookouts drop a 4-2 decision to Huntsville.
There have been four AT&T crowds in excess of 5,000 this season, headed by the sold-out gathering of 6,318 for Clayton Kershaw's rehab assignment on April 30. Landing the star pitcher of the Los Angeles Dodgers would make any evening special, but the fact Kershaw arrived in the middle of the week made it even better.
"If he's here on a Friday or Saturday night, it's about a 20-percent increase for us," Mozingo said. "He came on a Wednesday night, so it was about a 75-percent increase for us. It could not have been a better night for us, and what a neat night for all of Chattanooga."
The Lookouts had high hopes Sunday due to starting pitcher Tyson Brummett, whose 0.49 earned run average entering the game was the best in all of minor league baseball. The Lookouts led 1-0 entering the fifth inning, but Huntsville finally got to Brummett with a Josh Prince home run to left field, a Nick Shaw triple to right and a D'Vontrey Richardson RBI double to left.
Huntsville broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning when Greg Hokpins reached on an error, stole second, advanced to third on a Shaw single and scored on a Richardson sacrifice. The loss was the fourth straight for the Lookouts (14-22), who are a season-high eight games under .500 and a season-high 10.5 games back of the Stars.
Chris Reed (3-1, 1.88) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 game for the Lookouts, with Taylor Jungmann (2-4, 2.55) scheduled for Huntsville.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 ...