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Dirty Birds open season with win over Staten Island

West Virginia Press Association Staff Report

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Charleston Dirty Birds kicked off their 2024 season Thursday evening, when they welcomed the Staten Island Ferryhawks to a packed house at GoMart Ballpark. And with a new club manager in P.J. Phillips, and only one player – designated hitter Tillman Pugh – returning from last year, the more than 3,200 fans in attendance had high hopes and higher expectations for the hometeam. 

After a disappointing 2023, which saw the ballclub post a record of 56 wins and 70 losses before missing the playoffs, major changes swept through the clubhouse. 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. 

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 Tuesday-acquisition Gabriel Cancel tied it up, before a walk-off single from Delino Deshields, Jr., son of former major leaguer Delino Deshields, gave the Dirty Birds the five-four victory. 

In attendance 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 showed off his singing voice with 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. 

Fans in attendance will find GoMart Ballpark more family-friendly this year, with an all new “Kids Zone” play area replacing the former smoking area, and new menu options available at the concession stands. A nine hole miniature golf course has also been added beyond the left field fence. 

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

The Charleston Dirty Birds are a member of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB). Now in its 26th season, the ALPB averages more than 50 player contracts sold to MLB clubs each year. Over 40% of the current ALPB roster across all 12 teams have MLB experience. 

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