Opening Day means the smell of the fresh cut grass, the pop of the leather and the familiar feeling of Trenton Thunder baseball.
For the Thunder, opening day means welcoming back fans, welcoming a fresh crop of the hottest incoming MLB draft prospects and a date with the Frederick Keys to open the 2023 MLB Draft League season on an 83-degree night in front of a sellout crowd of 7,548 at Trenton Thunder Ballpark.
Thunder starter Chase Jeter allowed a hit early on a ground ball to third baseman Charlie Pagliarini, but escaped a first and second, no out jam without damage thanks in no small part to a double play off the bat of Keys third baseman Luca Danos.
The Keys would strike first in the third as Danos would drive in Logan Sanders on a line drive to Thunder centerfielder Chris Sparber to give the Keys a 1-0 lead, but the Thunder would answer in the home half of the 3rd following an Isaiah Drake walk and stolen base as Alden Mathes would launch a line drive to centerfield to bring Drake home and tie the game at 1-all.
Foy would be pulled after two and a third innings, making way for righty Garrett Harker. Harker would proceed to allow RBI doubles off the bats of Pagliarini and Ryland Zaborowski to make it a 3-1 Thunder advantage. Chase Englehard would proceed to drive in Sparber later in the inning to make it 4-1 Thunder before Dan Covino came up empty to end the home third.
Jeter would get the hook after three strong innings of work, allowing righty Anthony Pron to step in and be just as brilliant if not more brilliant as he shut the Keys down through two innings of work before handing off to Cade Udell.
The Thunder would tack on three more in the later innings - one in the fourth and two more off the bat of Evan Sleight to make it 7-1 while the rest Thunder bullpen did their job in holding the Keys at bay as they shut down the Keys' bats over six strong innings of work, allowing no runs and punching out eight along the way.
Trenton Thunder Home Again Friday
The Thunder finish up the home half of their four-game opening series against Frederick Friday night at Trenton Thunder Ballpark, first pitch is scheduled for 7:00 PM.