PRESS RELEASE – The 2012 Lancaster Barnstormers will long be remembered as one of the greatest teams in the franchise’s eight year history. Numerous records were set during the 2012 season both on and off the field.
There were many reasons for the success in 2012. One, of course, was the sensational product on the field. Another was a strong grassroots effort that resulted in a jam-packed line-up of exciting programs designed to entertain and educate the Lancaster County fans.
Special Theme Nights
Barnstormers Vice President Tony DeMarco created the “School Spirit Night” program that gave school districts in Lancaster County the opportunity to celebrate their district and all of the fantastic work of their students, faculty, coaches and administrators. There were a number of special performances by the students of Lancaster County ranging from the Donegal Rhythm Singers, the Hempfield Jazz Band, the Manheim Central Unicyclists, the Hempfield Middle School Step Team and the Columbia High School performance of the Wizard of Oz. Award winning teachers and championship athletic teams also were honored during the game while various choirs, bands and musical soloists performed the National Anthem and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Each school district was able to pay tribute to an individual deserving special recognition by having them throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
All of the Barnstormers’ favorite programs were back in 2012 including Read with the Barnstormers Nights and Summer Reading Nights when students are honored for their special reading achievements within the school year and the summer months. Other popular programs at the ballpark included Bark in the Park, with fans invited to enjoy a ballgame with their pooch and Scout Night Sleepover, when hundreds of scouts slept under the stars in the outfield of Clipper Magazine Stadium. Other fan favorites included Dairy & Agriculture Night when Turkey Hill Dairy helped build Lancaster’s largest ice-cream sundae for fans to enjoy. Female fans were treated to Lancaster General Health’s Ladies Night, with the famed “Diamond Dig”, a post-game activity to find a piece of diamond jewelry buried in the infield dirt, and a fashion show during the game. Fans were also able to enjoy four Faith & Family Nights presented by WJTL with musical performances by Chuck Gibson, SisterBrother, Steven Courtney, and Kids Cookie Break.
Once again, thousands of veterans from all branches of the armed forces were honored prior to the Memorial Day game at the annual Salute to Veterans event at the ballpark. The pre-game ceremony hosted by Dick Hoxworth evoked great emotion as each branch was recognized for its service and commitment to our country. Lastly, the Barnstormers’ renowned fireworks shows wowed fans after every Saturday night ballgame including a special patriotic fireworks presentation on July 4th.
The 2012 schedule also introduced new programs. Barnstormers’ fans enjoyed Opera Night and a special performance of Casey at the Bat by the Lancaster Opera Company. The emotional “Make a Wish” Truck Convoy closed their annual Mother’s Day ceremony with a special night of recognition at the Stadium and two legends of the Worldwide Wrestling Federation, Sergeant Slaughter and Diamond Dallas Page, greeted fans in 2012.
Aside from baseball, Clipper Magazine Stadium served as host to several special events. Most notable was the LeSean McCoy Celebrity Softball Game which brought some of the finest players in the National Football League to Lancaster on June 23rd. This contest, which featured DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick, Jeremy Maclin, Torrey Smith, Brian Westbrook and many other high profile athletes brought over 8,000 fans to the stadium and drew national attention to Lancaster. LeSean and the McCoy Foundation raised over $80,000 to support research to find a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), in addition to supporting underprivileged youth programs in the Susquehanna Valley.
Five days later, Clipper Magazine Stadium played host to more than 4,000 youth soccer players plus their families. The site was selected as the venue for the opening ceremonies to the US Youth Soccer Region I Tournament, which was brought to the area by the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association. The top 260 youth soccer teams ranging from Maine to Virginia marched into Clipper Magazine Stadium in an Olympic-style parade that kicked off their journey to the National tournament that took place in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
In that week, even with the Barnstormers on the road, more than 15,000 people passed through the stadium turnstiles. Lancaster County welcomed many guests from out of town who spent time and resources in Lancaster, specifically for these two events.
The Prince Street ballpark also served as the hub for a number of charity walks and community fundraising events. The Lancaster County Project for the Needy, the Humane League of Lancaster County, the American Heart Association, Girls on the Run, and the American Red Cross were among the list of organizations that benefited from the facility. The Barnstormers estimate that area non-profits were able to generate over $110,000 to support local causes.
The 2012 Barnstormers Baseball Team
Above all, 2012 will be remembered as the season where exciting baseball reigned. The Barnstormers not only set a league record with 88 wins during the season, the club treated the home crowd to a record of 51 wins, including playoffs, on Prince Street, the most ever in one campaign.
Clipper Magazine Stadium attracted more than 330,000 fans to watch the Barnstormers. In 2012 the Barnstormers average attendance per game swelled to 4,718, which exceeded that of the 2011 season and also ranks in the upper echelon of the highest averages in the Atlantic League.
The 2012 Barnstormers rewrote club and Atlantic League history. They were the first team since 1999 to lead the league in both hitting and pitching. With the rare combination of power and speed, the club hit the most home runs but also stole the most bases during 2012. Eight team members were selected to represent the Freedom Division in the 2012 Atlantic League All-Star Game in Camden.
There was the excitement of titanic blasts from Ryan “Thor” Harvey, scintillating play on both offense and defense by the outfield trio of Blake Gailen, Adam Godwin and Fehlandt Lentini. Tight games ended with “Hammer Time” as closer Tim Hamulack converted 26 consecutive save opportunities.
While the championship slipped away at the end, this team was recognized for its greatness by garnering a huge number of post-season awards. Seven members of the club made the Atlantic League’s year-end All-Star squad. Butch Hobson was honored as the league’s top manager for the fourth time. Dwayne Pollok became the first Barnstormer ever to be named the league’s Pitcher of the Year.
The biggest nod went to Gailen. Not only was the left fielder chosen as the Atlantic League’s Player of the Year, he was selected by the baseball industry’s leading publication, Baseball America, as the best player in all of independent league baseball for the 2012 season.
The Lancaster Barnstormers are entering their ninth season as a member of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Home games are played at Clipper Magazine Stadium in downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Please call 717.509.HITS (4487) or visit LancasterBarnstormers.com for more information.