Brazos Valley Bombers take the field
Published: Monday, July 2, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
As the calendar turns from May to June, and baseball season ends for the Texas A&M Aggies, baseball still resonates in the heart of Brazos County as the Brazos Valley Bombers take the field during the summer at American Monumental Bank ballpark.
History runs deep in the valley as AMB ballpark has been home to minor league professional baseball since the Bryan Bombers took the field in 1947. Part of the eight team, Class-C circuit of professional ball, the Bombers fielded a team that was known to struggle. finishing with a 38-101 record in their first season.
As the years went by, the leagues folded and the Bombers became the Bryan Sports, and then the Bryan Indians. Even with the teams eventually going defunct, the spirit of baseball continued to circle the grounds on Travis Field until the name changed to Brazos Valley Bank Ball park and now AMB Ballpark.
Since the 2007 season, the Bombers came to back to life in the Texas Collegiate League to allow NCAA eligible players an opportunity to play summer ball. The league follows minor league baseball rules in allowing only wooden bats and using specified baseballs as compared to college which use metal bats and a different specialized ball. The Bombers are one of seven teams in the league that draws players from colleges all over the country. The downfall however is that rules dictate that the players cannot be paid to play in compliance with the NCAA to maintain the players’ eligibility.
The Bombers currently have two Aggies playing for their squad: left fielder Brandon Wood and pitcher Nathan Sorenson. Although on two Aggies are on the squad, the Bombers see familiar faces from the opposing dugouts as other Aggies take part in the league by participating on other teams.
On a hot Monday afternoon at AMB Ballpark, the Bombers were set to host the McKinney Marshals and fellow Aggies Krey Bratsen and Chance Bolcerek.
The atmosphere of the ballpark was slow at first, but as the first pitch was set to throw, music filled the air and the smell of fresh popped popcorn and hot dogs filled the stands as it was 50 cent hot dog, popcorn and peanuts night.
“I love the atmosphere of going to a Bombers game,” senior environmental studies major Matthew Green said. “The chance to go out and enjoy a ballgame with friends and just relax is a good feeling.”
In the first inning, the Bombers set the tone by waiting for the opportune moment to strike as shortstop Nick Smelser was hit by a pitch followed by Brandon Wood reaching first base on an error. After designated hitter Bobby Bulvin was hit by a pitch, third baseman Brennyn Smith launched a home run down the left field line for a grand slam, putting the Bombers up 4-0.
The Bombers would add two more runs which proved to be more than enough as Brandon Burgen from Sam Houston State would work seven strong innings, allowing one run while striking out five Marshalls as the bombers took the game by the final of 6-1.
“I’m glad they won tonight,” Bombers fan and local Bryan resident Victoria Morales said. “The crowd was into the game and that home run that [Smith] hit was awesome.”
As the people walked from AMB Ballpark, the spirit of family, friends and America’s Pastime remained behind. People go to the ballpark to enjoy a night out where the dinner table is replaced with ketchup and mustard hot dogs in the hands of many, an ice cold cup of lemonade to help a person cool down from the sweltering Texas heat. Baseball in the valley has and will remain as long as the thirst for baseball and that sweet lemonade remain.
“I definitely will be back for a game later on this season,” former student Jacob Whaley said.
“There’s no way that I would miss the opportunity to come out and enjoy a great baseball game and good food. It’s summer time, and summer time is baseball time.”