Even in the blustery winds that gusted 25 miles per hour, the Reno ACES pulled off a win on the opening day of the 2012 season on with a 5-2 win over Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
Though the Sky Sox were quick to take the lead, Reno came back with four runs in the third inning to take a lead that they would not give up.
To ACES fans David and Debbie Smith, covered in a blanket and sitting behind railings, ACES’ hitters were the ticket this year. A win would come from strong batters, David Smith said.
“I’ve had season tickets since the ACES started (in 2009),” he said. When asked about what he predicted for his team this year, Smith said, “It’s hard to say. We sure had good hitters last year. It’s good to see them come back. (Cody) Ransom is back. No 13. He’s such a good hitter It’s good to see Konrad, Schmidt, too.”
Ransom, the ACES’ short stop, was second in the lineup Thursday. Last year, his batting average was .333. Center fielder Konrad Schmidt hit fifth with an average last year of .291.
Smith has had a passion for baseball he said since 1955. He has seen each major league baseball team play at its home field across the nation, he said.
Smith’s unofficial hopes that the ACES season, which is off to a good start, is based on the credentials of manager Brett Butler, he said.
Brett Butler, manager, spring training instructor for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002. Played 17 seasons in the major leagues, earning a reputation as one of the game’s premier leadoff hitters.
The Reno Aces are a Triple A minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Aces’s first season was in 2009, making this the start of the team’s fourth season. The team is owned by SK Baseball, which also owns the Reno Bighorns NBA D-League basketball team.
Other ACES coaches returning this year include: Rick Burleson, hitting coach, coaching experience at every level of Minor League Baseball and several stints in the Major Leagues. He returns to Reno this year as the club’s hitting coach for the fourth-straight season. Mike Parrott is the pitching coach. He is a veteran of the Diamondbacks organization and returns to Reno this year for his 11th season as Arizona’s Triple-A pitching coach. This season marks Parrott’s 16th overall with the Diamondbacks.
The crowd grew quickly as the winds picked up before the game began. Brian Moss, director of ACES ticketing said the event was going “great.”
“We’re excited to start another season,” Moss said. “It’s all about having fun.”
The smell of nachos, specialty hot dogs, pizza and cheesy-gooey, melt-in-your-mouth bites filled the air as those hawking four-feet-high cotton candy mountains walked passed the excited opening day attendees.
Madison, 5, had her hands full of a plate of grilled cheese smasher with a pickle.
Morgan Pisane, 20, and her friend Alyssa Smith, 21, said they were just “excited it’s not snowing.”
Kiana Hillis, 6, said the nachos were her favorite.
“I think it’s great because I play. It’s fun I play first base,” Hillis said.
Sarabeth Brown of Reno had her nails specially painted in ACES colors and logos for the event, with a matching outfit to got with them.
“Every layer is ACES,” Brown said, sitting on the floor section next to her friend. “I’ve been to every single game since day one. Since the say they came to town. I think it’s the best ball park in town. They are the boys of sumer, even though it does’t feel like it today.”
The next home game is April 7 against Colorado Springs Sky Sox, featuring A-Play Club Fleece Blanket Giveaway, presented by Kolo 8 News Now. followed by a home game April 27 against Sacramento River Cats.
To follow the Reno ACES online, visit www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t2310. Catch the ACES Live on my21 TV.