ALLENTOWN - Chuck Domino, Chief Executive Manager of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, was the first to initiate an Education Day at the Ballpark during his stint as general manager of the Reading Phillies a couple of years ago.
When Domino hired Curt Landes as the team;'s inaugural general manager for the the team, now in its third season, he had no problem convincing Landes, known for his own crazy ideas for promotional days, to try it at Coca-Cola Park.
The first of two Education Days this season kicked off with a 10:35 a.m. first pitch on Tuesday and a sellout crowd of 10,000 showed up for what turned out to be a 3-1 victory for the IronPigs over the Indianapolis Indians.
Local groups on hand were from S.S. Palmer Elementary of the Palmerton School District, along with Franklin Elementary and Shull David Elementary of the Lehighton School District.
The second Education Day is scheduled for Thursday, May 20 at 10:35 a.m. against the Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds AAA team).
With first-pitch temperature at 73 degrees, those in attendance watched some great pitching from IronPigs starter Drew Carpenter and relievers Mike Zagurski, Oscar Villarreal, Antonio Bastardo and Scott Mathieson.
Cody Ramsom also turned out to be the hero and he wasn't even supposed to be in the starting lineup. Melvin Dorta was penciled in to bat sixth and start in right field, but showed up to the ballpark feeling ill so manager Dave Huppert pulled him and started Ransom.
The former New York Yankee prospect hit a three-run homer into the bullpen in the third inning with Rich Thompson and Luis Maza aboard to account for all three runs.
"It's a battle and a little bit of a grind right now because it seems like I'm getting just one hit a game," said Ransom. "But we're going to keep going."
Ransom and the Pigs were glad for a day off today, after games on 27 straight days.
"It's great heading into Thursday's game against Columbus with a win," said Ransom. "Having a game this early is a little different so we have pretty much today and tomorrow so it's almost like two off days. We could definitely use it it's been a while."
Huppert said having to insert Ransom into the lineup couldn't have worked better. Then he went on to praise his pitchers.
"They all pitched real well," he said. "Carpenter had a rough first inning and then settled down and threw the ball very well. He just needed to get some work.
"I was very happy with the bullpen. They came in and threw strikes. Villarreal struggled a bit, but everyone else threw the ball well."
Thursday night, Brian Mazone (2-2, 4.67) takes the mound against Columbus' Hector Rondon (0-3, 9.13) with WWE announcer and former wrestler Jerry "The King" Lawler on hand.