Home, sweet home—Braves win first 'home' game of the season

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By Paul Gable

Grant County High School has been at its present location since 1998, but it wasn't until May 1, 2008, that the Braves hosted a baseball game at the facility.

The wait was well worth it for the Braves and coach Van Duncan, as Grant County jumped out to an early lead and held off Scott High School 3-2 to claim not only its 13th win of the season, but also it's first 'home' victory in a game that featured Grant County School Board Deputy Superintendent Ken Gray throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

"It was really exciting for the boys, and we are glad to be on our new field. We still have a few minor things to work on, and we will have to adjust to the wind, but we are happy with our "new home." The new facilities will provide us with a boost of confidence and a sense of ownership that our program needs," Duncan said.

GCHS athletic director Scott Shipp said the facility will be first-class when it is finished.

"I think everyone involved has done a fantastic job," Shipp said.

Grant County wasted little time opening its new ballpark with flair as junior and leadoff hitter Dillon Pelfrey took an offering from Scott pitcher Zack Adams and smacked a home run, giving the Braves a 1-0 advantage after the top of the first inning.

"It was the first home run I had hit over a fence in a long time. It was unexpected, and I didnt know it was gone until I rounded first, picked up my head and saw it was out," Pelfrey said of the first home run at the new stadium.

Pelfrey said the new stadium is a nice addition.

It is much better than the other field, and it was nice to open it on a good note, Pelfrey said.

The Braves continued their scoring ways one inning later, as Justin Mertz belted a two-RBI double, scoring Aaron Goe and Dillon Adams, extending Grant Countys lead to 3-1.

Senior pitcher Josh Cummins earned the win, in what Duncan said was one of the better games he has thrown this year.

"He just keeps getting better as the season goes along," Duncan said.

Cummins said it was an "awesome experience" being a senior and getting the ball in the Braves' first game at their new field.

"It got us pumped up. We had more fans out and I think we showed them we can play baseball," Cummins said.

Fellow classmates Jonathan Cain and Jeremy Martin had different thoughts about the new field.

"It's a little unusual having played at the other field for five years," Cain said, referring to the old field next to the Grant County School Board office. "We have adapted well, and it was nice to open with a win over Scott."

Martin is trying not to get caught up in the hoopla.

"It's just another field. I think winning our first game here gave us some confidence," Martin said.

Regardless, Duncan hopes the win is one of many to come.

"Our guys are just beginning to reach their potential, but we still have a lot of work to do," Duncan said.