A crowd of over 3,000 fans turned out for the Bowling Green Hot Rods season opener, a 5-2 win over the South Bend Silver Hawks Thursday night. The game marked the beginning of a new era for Bowling Green’s minor league baseball team and the area around its downtown ballpark.
It’s the team’s sixth year at Bowling Green Ballpark, which now has a new neighbor: a multi-restaurant, parking garage and apartment building next door known as Hitcents Park Plaza. One of the restaurants named "6-4-3", after the scoring notation for a double play, features a distinct baseball feel.
It was also the first game since the new ownership group, led by Stuart and Jerry Katzoff, took over in December.
The rain and dark clouds that hung over Bowling Green most of Thursday lifted about an hour before first pitch as fans filed into the stadium. Included in the crowd was Greg Eisenberg, sitting along the first base line.
“Just the excitement, the atmosphere and it’s a lot of fun here in Bowling Green," said Eisenberg. "We’ve been coming here every year since they opened."
Oscar Hernandez, the Hot Rods 20-year-old catcher, broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the third with a grand slam.