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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Falcons experience Fifth Third thrills

It was rainy, it was cold, and didn’t matter one bit. Saturday, Bowling Green players got to put their things in an honest-to-goodness clubhouse and walk down an honest-to-goodness tunnel into a dugout so big, it had a handicapped access ramp. They got to play pepper games in right field as hundreds of fans took their seats in front of them.

The concession stands had Mexican food, the seats had backs, and the scoreboard had a Jumbotron screen (though it wasn’t used.)

Welcome to Fifth Third Field, boys.

Saturday, BG got to sweep a doubleheader with Toledo in style at the new home of the Toledo Mud Hens. Rain and wind eventually thinned the crowd out, but it didn’t dull the experience for Falcon players, many of whom were playing in a professional park for the first time.

“I’ve never played in anything close to this,” outfielder Jeff Warnock said. “This is definitely a great experience.”

Any player good enough to play Division I college ball has aspirations of a pro career. Only a handful actually get the chance to call a place like Fifth Third Field home on a regular basis. Kelly Hunt and Corey Loomis, possibly the two best pro prospects on the team right now, liked the size of the crowd Fifth Third provided Saturday.

“I like the atmosphere, when you get a lot of people in here watching the game, it is awesome,” Loomis said.

The buildup surrounding the game was a pressure test for a team now embroiled in a pennant race with three other teams in the MAC East. Over 6,000 fans were there for game one.

“Playing our rival, getting the fans out here and involved, it’s great to play in front of a bigger crowd,” Hunt said.

Hunt is not a stranger to professional parks. The native of Toledo played in Ned Skeldon Stadium in high school. Skeldon was the home of the Mud Hens until last year.

BG coach Danny Schmitz liked the simple excitement his players got from the park.

“It is quite a thrill,” he said. “To get a taste of playing at the next level is great.”

If there was a drawback for the players, it was trying to quickly adjust to the park. Throughout the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader, outfielders for both teams seemed to take awkward routes to fly balls, not used to having the ball passing in front of light towers and steel girders 40 feet up.

The hurried adjustment didn’t have a lasting affect. Warnock, who has evolved from a liability in the outfield to the best freshman position player on the team, played defense like it was Steller Field when he got used to the grandstand height.

“It almost feels like you’re a professional,” he said. “This is not like going to play at any college. Plus, it’s just a really sweet park.”

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