The Lowell Spinners’ College Night was a success not only in terms of the Mill City victory (Spinners 9, Hudson Valley Renegades 2), but also, with the attendance and atmosphere created by the UMass Lowell students.
The Spinners combined solid pitching performances from starter Dakota Smith (5 innings, 1 earned run) and reliever Matthew Gorst (4 innings, 1 earned run) with timely and consistent hitting throughout the evening.
2016 college draft picks CJ Chatham (shortstop) and Bobby Dalbec (third baseman) each went 2-5 with two hard-hit singles. Catcher Ryan Hanigan, on a rehab assignment from the Red Sox, also contributed nicely, going 2-4 in the box with 3 RBI, as well as gunning out the Renegades’ second baseman Miles Mastrobuoni at second on a steal attempt.
The Spinners’ 14 hits were spread throughout the game, but their biggest inning was the fifth, when they tacked on five runs. It was smooth sailing from then on for the hometown team.
This night proved to be enjoyable for more than just the great play by the team, though, as it being College Night meant free entry to any UMass Lowell student upon showing their student ID. The student body packed the sections of the park farthest down the first base line, and there was an overall joy and excitement to the atmosphere.
Stadium employees constantly kept students involved in the action, whether through between-innings contests on the field, throwing shirts or softballs into the stands, or even launching items via slingshot onto the field. Rowdy the RiverHawk was also in on the fun, parading through the stands, interacting with students, and being involved in the on-field antics as well.
The crowd’s numbers stayed relatively steady throughout the course of the game, however, and the sheer number of students who came to the game became apparent when the game ended, and it was time for the Helicopter Money Drop.
Students clamored up the stadium stairs, employees hustled to make sure everybody formed lines (or as close to them as possible), and once order seemed to exist, everybody was let onto the field.
Led to the outfield via the directions of staff and by their desires of collecting cash, hundreds of students stood together in center field, waiting for the helicopter that would fly over and drop $2500 worth of green onto the green of LeLacheur.
The helicopter appeared in the distance, a glimmer of light above the East parking garage, and it circled a couple times before getting low enough. It made its final turn, and positioned itself a few hundred feet above the crowd, then began releasing the bills. A few lonely ones fell at first, like leaking water before the dam bursts, and then the air became full of dollars. The wind from the helicopter scattered the cash everywhere, and students ran all over to collect what they could. Onlookers stood watching and laughing as students scooped up what they could, and in a couple minutes, everything was clear, and students were directed to where they could leave in left field.
The Spinners’ College Night resulted in victory for the baseball team itself, but also, for UML students, as even if everybody could not collect a decent wad of cash, it made for a memorable experience on a beautiful late-summer night early in the school year.