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With the Fireflies opening their season on Thursday night, the new team is ready to showcase their talents for the third season at Spirit Communications Park.

Fireflies President John Katz reflected on the national attention the team brought in last year by former Heisman-winning quarterback Tim Tebow. “It was a sight to see and the City of Columbia showed out to support Tebow every night,” Katz said.

Broadcast and Media Relations Director Kevin Fitzgerald, described the atmosphere in the park while the former Heisman-winning quarterback was here as electric and family-friendly.

“The fans loved having him here and though he is not with us this year, we are still predicting a very successful year,” Fitzgerald said.

Former first round draft choice Anthony Kay headlines the Fireflies 2018 Opening Day roster. Kay was drafted 31st overall by the Mets in the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft and is expected to appear in his first professional game this season (Kay missed the entire 2017 season due to injury).

Kay highlights what could be a dominant pitching staff for the Fireflies this season. Six-foot-five right-hander Nicolas Debora was a Mets Sterling Award winner after posting a 2.33 ERA with 56 strikeouts (54 IP) for the Brooklyn Cyclones (short-season A) last season. Chadwick and Stephen Villines are two other hurlers to keep an eye on. After being drafted out of Arkansas, Chadwick went on to post a Brooklyn-best 1.33 ERA and punch out 40 batters in 27 innings. Villines was nearly unhittable in 2017 and combined to strike out 40 and walk just one hitter while splitting time with Brooklyn and the Kingsport Mets (advanced-rookie).

Columbia’s roster includes talent all around the diamond as well. Brodey is one of the most intriguing selections from the Mets’ 2017 draft class. The Los Angeles native paced Stanford in the power department in the spring of 2017, leading the Cardinal in batting average (.314), home runs (11) and RBIs (51). The Mets selected the versatile outfielder – and former high school pitcher – in the third round last June. The 22-year-old went on to lead Brooklyn with 30 RBIs. It’ll be a Cardinal reunion of sorts at Spirit Communications Park, as Brodey may be paired with his old Stanford teammate Matt Winaker in the outfield this season.

Infielders Rigoberto Terrazas (2017 Kingsport Sterling Award winner) and Walter Rasquin (New York Penn League-best 32 stolen bases in 2017) should form quite the duo in the infield this year. The pair ranked first (.348) and third (.330) respectively among all Mets minor leaguers in batting average last year.

2017 fan favorite Jay Jabs (infielder converted to catcher in 2018), Scott Manea (Shrewsbury, MA, native) and Dan Rizzie (2016 All-Big East 1st Team selection at Xavier) create a more-than-capable trio behind the plate.

Lopez will be joined in the Fireflies dugout this season by pitching coach Jonathan Hurst (a Spartanburg, SC, native) and hitting coach Ender Chavez. Athletic Trainer Hiroto Kawamura, Strength and Conditioning Coach Tanner Miracle and Assistant Coach Derek Swartout-Mosher round out the coaching staff.

The Fireflies start the season by taking on the Augusta GreenJackets Thursday at 7:05 at Spirit Communications Park, beginning a 7-day home stand. This season, all 140 Fireflies games will air on FOX Sports Radio 1400 AM. Highlights for the first week of home games follow.

Thursday, April 5, 2018, 7:05 p.m. vs. Augusta GreenJackets (San Francisco Giants)

Opening Night fireworks
Budweiser Thirsty Thursday
5:30-7:00pm Bud Light Happy Hour – $1 Bud Light at Budweiser Bow Tie Bar
Magnet Schedule Giveaway pres. by Northpoint Heating & Air
Community Organization of the Game: Harvest Hope

Friday, April 6, 2018, 7:05 p.m. vs. Augusta GreenJackets (San Francisco Giants)

Fireworks

Magnet Schedule Giveaway pres. by Northpoint Heating & Air
BlueCross BlueShield #FearlessFriday
Community Organization of the Game: Children’s Trust

Saturday, April 7, 2018, 6:05 p.m. vs. Augusta GreenJackets (San Francisco Giants)

25th Anniversary of The Sandlot
Fireworks
Magnet Schedule Giveaway pres. by Northpoint Heating & Air
Community Organization of the Game: Columbia Museum of Art

Sunday, April 8, 2018, 2:05 p.m. vs. Augusta GreenJackets (San Francisco Giants)

Future Scholar 529 Splash Sunday
Player Autographs
Magnet Schedule Giveaway pres. by Northpoint Heating & Air
Community Organization of the Game: MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Monday, April 9, 2018, 7:05 p.m. vs. Hagerstown Suns (Washington Nationals)

Moe’s Monday
Community Organization of the Game: The Center for Dance Education

Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 7:05 p.m. vs. Hagerstown Suns (Washington Nationals)

$2 Tuesday (hot dogs, popcorn, and fountain sodas)
Community Organization of the Game: Epworth Children’s Home

Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 7:05 p.m. vs. Hagerstown Suns (Washington Nationals)

Trash the Poop Wag-Along Wednesday (Bring your dog with you to the game!)
Community Organization of the Game: Pet Paws and Pet Vets for Seniors

Spirit Communications Park

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