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Fergie Jenkins returns home as Chatham makes IBL franchise debut

The Chatham Barnstormers will make their IBL debut May 18, 2024, at Fergie Jenkins Field in Chatham, Ont. (Source: Chatham Barnstormers) The Chatham Barnstormers will make their IBL debut May 18, 2024, at Fergie Jenkins Field in Chatham, Ont. (Source: Chatham Barnstormers)
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The long-awaited debut of the Chatham Barnstormers Intercounty Baseball League franchise is finally here.

After their franchise was approved 18 months ago, the Barnstormers have been working to get ready for this day, and it is finally here.

“Eighteen months on paper, but a lot longer in real life,” said Barnstormers Owner Dom Dinelle. “We are expecting 3,000 people tonight. There will be entertainment before and after with live music, as fan experience is a huge thing for us. We did a little exhibition game rehearsal last week and didn’t advertise it but got 500 people and the atmosphere was great.”

Chatham was supposed to open its season Friday in Brantford, but their inaugural game was rained out.

The Chatham Barnstormers will make their IBL debut May 18, 2024, at Fergie Jenkins Field in Chatham, Ont. (Source: Chatham Barnstormers)“It sucked, but we get to break the ice with our own fans,” said Dinelle. “As for what fans will see on the field, we scored 14 runs in our exhibition against local senior players, so hopefully that happens again tonight.”

First pitch at Fergie Jenkins Field will be 7:05 p.m. against Kitchener.

Ceremonial first pitches will be thrown by Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff, Team Ambassador and former Montreal Expo Bill Atkinson, and Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins.

Friday night, the London Majors displayed some power in their 10-4 home opening win at Labatt Park.

Three different players blasted home runs, as London scored seven runs in the first three innings en route to victory over Welland.

Newcomer Kaiden Cordoso went 3-4 with a home run, and three runs batted in to earn Player of the Game honours, while Edward De Oleo and Starlin Joseph also went deep for London.

Pitcher Jose Arias threw five innings for the win, and Victor Payano finished it off with four scoreless innings of relief.

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