Play Ball! GreenJackets create fun with games, extras

About two dozen home games remain in season

ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
GreenJackets left fielder Shawn Payne slides into second during the first game of a doubleheader against the Savannah Sand Gnats.
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GreenJackets fans have about two dozen more chances to catch a game at home. Here’s a guide with what you need to know from the schedule and the team to ticket prices and promotions.

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Fans watch the fireworks show after the game July 3 at Lake Olmstead Stadium. Fireworks light the sky after Saturday games.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Fans watch the fireworks show after the game July 3 at Lake Olmstead Stadium. Fireworks light the sky after Saturday games.

THE TEAM

Minor League Baseball’s 25th consecutive season in Augusta reached its midway point last month with record crowds embracing the Augusta GreenJackets.

A paid attendance of 5,931 broke the single-game record at Lake Olmstead Stadium on a Saturday night in May, and the team has topped 5,000 in attendance six times already this season.

Though the young GreenJackets players, supplied by the San Fran­cisco Giants as part of the Augusta’s Single-A affiliation, struggled during the first half of the season and finished in sixth place in the seven-team South Atlantic League’s Southern Division, a reset of the league’s records after the all-star break gave the GreenJackets new life. The team has managed to post a second-half record among the top teams in the division.

The GreenJackets are led by second-year manager Lipso Nava, who spent the previous three seasons in Augusta as the team’s hitting coach. Nava got his first look at this year’s team during a successful spring training run and has been in charge of the 25 to 30 prospects this summer.

“Things kept rolling from what we were doing in spring training,” the 43-year-old Nava said. “We were playing the same way over there in Arizona, and the guys have just been doing the same thing here.”

Former big league pitcher Mike Caldwell, who played 14 seasons with the Brewers, Padres, Giants and Reds, took over as the GreenJackets’ pitching coach this season. Caldwell is in charge of a young but talented group of pitchers, including three teenagers. Clayton Blackburn, a 19-year-old Texan who graduated from high school a year ago, took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in a game against the Lexington Legends on May 29.

Fellow 19-year-old teammates Kyle Crick and Edwin Escobar have also excelled in Augusta. Crick and 20-year-old starter Adalberto Mejia picked up South Atlantic League pitcher of the week honors this season.

The pitching, which finished the first half ranked third in the league in staff ERA, has carried the team early but the team’s offense has had their highlights.

Left fielder Shawn Payne, a product of Georgia Southern and Middle Georgia College, has more stolen bases without being thrown out than any other player in professional baseball.

Garrett Buechele, the son of 11-year big league veteran Steve Buechele, led the team in hitting at the all-star break with a .300 batting average.

The GreenJackets play in the 14-team South Atlantic League, with teams ranging as far north as New Jersey and as far south as Savannah, Ga. Augusta won a Southern Division second-half championship last season to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Former GreenJackets who have gone on to careers in Major League Baseball include Brian Wilson, Bronson Arroyo, Madison Bumgarner, Kevin Youkilis, Pablo Sandoval, Moises Alou and Tim Wakefield.

THE STADIUM

Lake Olmstead Stadium is at 78 Milledge Road. Purchase tickets at the Front Office (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday), Box Office (opens 4 p.m. Monday-Friday game days; 1 p.m. weekend game days), or by phone at (706) 922-9467.

For general information, visit www.greenjacketsbaseball.com.

THE SCHEDULE

MONDAYS

PROMOTION: Feed Your Face Mondays – For the cost of admission, enjoy all-you-can-eat select menu items from ballpark concession stands from the time the gates open through the sixth inning
TICKETS:
Box seats $15; reserved seats $12; general admission $11; (ages 3 and under) $1
July 16: vs. West Virginia Power, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 6: vs. Charleston RiverDogs, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 13: vs. Lakewood BlueClaws, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 3: vs. Charleston RiverDogs, 2:05 p.m.

TUESDAYS

PROMOTION: Two-For-Tuesdays – Two-for-one small beers and sodas
TICKETS:
Box seats $11; reserved seats $8; general admission $7; (senior citizens, military, ages 4-12) $6; (ages 3 and under) $1
July 10: vs. Greenville Drive, 7:05 p.m.
July 17: vs. West Virginia Power, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 14: vs. Lakewood BlueClaws, 7:05 p.m.

WEDNESDAYS

PROMOTION: Bi-Lo Baseball Bingo! – Fans have the chance to play Baseball Bingo and win prizes from Bi-Lo and the GreenJackets
TICKETS:
Box seats $11; reserved seats $8; general admission $7; (senior citizens, military, ages 4-12) $6; (ages 3 and under) $1
July 11: vs. Greenville Drive, 7:05 p.m.
July 15: vs. Lakewood BlueClaws, 7:05 p.m.

THURSDAYS

PROMOTION: Thirsty Thursday – presented by The Library; small beers and sodas cost $1
TICKETS:
Box seats $11; reserved seats $8; general admission $7; (senior citizens, military, ages 4-12) $6; (ages 3 and under) $1
July 12: vs. Greenville Drive, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 23: vs. Greensboro Grasshoppers, 7:05 p.m.

FRIDAYS

PROMOTION: Theme nights, entertainment acts and giveaways.
TICKETS:
Box seats $12; reserved seats $9; general admission $8; (senior citizens, military, ages 4-12) $7; (ages 3 and under) $1
July 13: vs. Greenville Drive, 7:05 p.m. (Superstition Night)
July 27: vs. Hickory Crawdads, 7:05 p.m. (Hat Giveaway)
Aug. 3: vs. Charleston RiverDogs, 7:05 p.m. (Golf Towel Giveaway)
Aug. 24: vs. Greensboro Grasshoppers, 7:05 p.m. (Team Photo Giveaway)
Aug. 31: vs. Charleston RiverDogs, 7:05 p.m.

SATURDAYS

PROMOTION: Fireworks Night
TICKETS:
Box seats $13; reserved seats $10; general admission $9; (senior citizens, military, ages 4-12) $8; (ages 3 and under) $1
July 14: vs. West Virginia Power, 7:05 p.m. (Military Appreciation Night)
July 28: vs. Hickory Crawdads, 7:05 p.m. (Halloween in July)
Aug. 4: vs. Charleston RiverDogs, 7:05 p.m. (Auggie’s Birthday Party)
Aug. 25: vs. Greensboro Grasshoppers, 7:05 p.m. (’80s Night)
Sept. 1: vs. Charleston RiverDogs, 7:05 p.m. (Fan Appreciation Night)

SUNDAYS

PROMOTION: Kids Eat Free – Each adult paying at the box office window receives a voucher for a hot dog, bag of chips and soft drink for their child, courtesy of The Augusta Chronicle.
TICKETS:
Box seats $11; reserved seats $8; general admission $7; (senior citizens, military, ages 4-12) $6; (ages 3 and under) $1
July 15: vs. West Virginia Power, 5:35 p.m.
July 29: vs. Hickory Crawdads, 5:35 p.m.
Aug. 5: vs. Charleston RiverDogs, 5:35 p.m.
Aug. 26: vs. Greensboro Grasshoppers, 5:35 p.m.
Sept. 2: vs. Charleston RiverDogs, 5:35 p.m.


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