The Augusta GreenJackets helped kick off Lake Olmstead Stadium with a bang 22 years ago.
While the result won’t be the same on the field this time, the GreenJackets plan to end their time at the ballpark on a similar note.
Augusta is preparing to play its final series at Lake Olmstead this weekend when the GreenJackets play host to the Charleston RiverDogs. The four-game series begins Friday and ends Monday, with game times Friday and Monday at 7:05 p.m., Saturday at 6:05 and Sunday at 5:05.
“We invite the CSRA to come out and celebrate with the GreenJackets as we close out an era here at the Lake,” GreenJackets vice president Tom Denlinger said in a statement. “We look forward to closing out the Lake in style with giveaways, specials, special events and a bang. It promises to be a weekend of memories.”
The team will move across the Savannah River to SRP Park in North Augusta next season. The 4,500-seat stadium, located on the river at Riverside Village at Hammond’s Ferry, will be surrounded by apartments, single-family housing, retail stores, a 180-room hotel and a small amphitheater on the river.
The 2018 home opener in the new ballpark will be April 12 against the Lexington Legends.
Before officially looking toward the future, the GreenJackets will recognize their current home one more time with a weekend of promotions, highlighted by giveaways and the final fireworks show after Monday’s Labor Day finale.
The team offered a similar level of excitement in its first year in the stadium in 1995. The GreenJackets opened the ballpark in style by winning the South Atlantic League title in the inaugural season under current Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister.
Augusta won its second league title in seven years by beating the Piedmont Phillies 5-4 on Sept. 10. The Augusta Chronicle’s account of the attendance that night described “a mix of longtime fans and first-time visitors, joining in on the foot-stomping, hand-clapping and shouting evocative of a Sunday night prayer meeting.”
The GreenJackets would go on to win three league championships in their time at Lake Olmstead, the last coming in 2008. The ballpark’s last playoff series was in 2013 after they charged to the Southern Division second-half title.
They’ve affiliated with three Major League Baseball organizations since the stadium was built between the Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants. The three franchises have assigned a considerable number of future major leaguers to Augusta during that time, including Madison Bumgarner, Jon Lester and Hanley Ramirez.
The list of Lake Olmstead memories is long for the GreenJackets. They have one more memorable series planned this weekend, then the goal is to make many more in their new location.
“That first series is going to be a party,” Denlinger said. “Being able to open a new stadium is a generational thing. It’s not often we’re able to do this.”
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216
All-Time Lake Olmstead Stadium Team
C - Hector Sanchez
1B - Kevin Youkilis
2B - Dustin Pedroia
3B - Aramis Ramirez
SS - Hanley Ramirez
OF - Lew Ford
OF - Brandon Moss
OF - Adam Duvall
DH - Pablo Sandoval
P - Madison Bumgarner
P - Jon Lester
P - Bronson Arroyo
RP - Sergio Romo
RP - Brian Wilson