Dirty Birds treat fans to 5-4 win in season opener

By Matthew Young, RealWV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The more than 3,200 fans in attendance at GoMart Ballpark got quite a show on Thursday, as the Charleston Dirty Birds kickstarted their 2024 season with a dramatic win over the Staten Island Ferrhawks. 

On the mound to start the game for Charleston was right-hander Kyle McGowin. After two quick outs to open the first, McGowin gave up a two-run home run before getting out of the inning. The Dirty Birds tied it up at two apiece in the fifth, but were down four to three by the time they came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth. 

A solo home run from Gabriel Cancel evened the score, before a walk-off single from Delino Deshields, Jr., son of former major leaguer Delino Deshields, gave the Dirty Birds the five-four victory. 

After a disappointing 2023, which saw the ballclub post a record of 56 wins and 70 losses before missing out on the postseason, major changes swept through the clubhouse. With a new team manager in P.J. Phillips, and only one player – designated hitter Tillman Pugh – returning from last year, fans have high hopes and higher expectations for the hometeam. 

In addition to Phillips, joining the revamped roster for 2024 are the heavy-hitting first baseman Keon Barnum, former Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Drew Ellis, and former Oakland Athletics pitcher Trey Supak. And with the club’s solid hitting and gritty play helping them manufacture an opening-day win, the hopes and expectations of fans have been handsomely rewarded. 

On hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitches of the season were “America’s Got Talent” winner Landau Murphy, Jr., and Miss Mountain State 2024 Peyton Konochesky. After showing off his arm, Murphy treated the crowd to a stirring rendition of “America the Beautiful.”

Also participating in the first pitch festivities was Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin, who led a group of Little Leaguers onto the field to get in on the pre-game fun. 

The Dirty Birds will welcome the Ferryhawks again Friday, for the second game of a four game series. Game time is 6:35 p.m. The Dirty Birds will then travel to North Carolina on Tuesday to begin a three-game series against the High Point Rockers, before returning home to welcome Gastonia next Friday. Tickets are available at dirtybirdsbaseball.com

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