There were smiles all around Friday at the home opener for the Schaumburg Boomers.
On a beautiful night for baseball, the Boomers not only celebrated their 2013 Frontier League crown but also earned their third consecutive win.
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Schaumburg edge the Florence (Ky.) Freedom 7-6 after receiving their championship rings and unfurling the banner commemorating the title in an emotional pregame ceremony at Schaumburg Baseball Stadium.
"It's exciting," said Boomers designated hitter Sean Mahley moments before the start of the festivities. "We're expecting a lot of fans, and we've been playing some good baseball lately."
"Even some guys who have retired are back," added Mahley, who has been with the Boomers since they started play in 2012. "It's going to be like a family reunion -- everybody's excited about the rings."
The enthusiasm the players exhibited was felt by the fans as well as a nice crowd was on hand to witness the celebration.
"I love baseball," said Tom Lobdell of Lake Zurich, who said he attended "about half" of Schaumburg's games last year. "It's interesting to see the potential of these guys, see how far they can move up in the minors and possibly to MLB."
"And a plus is this stadium -- it's a great place, everyone's nice and friendly, and you can make new friends every time you come out."
The Boomers trailed 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth when a bases-clearing triple from right fielder Justin Vasquez tied the game. Moments later, Vasquez scored the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly from Bobby Martin to the delight of the home crowd.
Vasquez led the Boomers (3-4) with 2 hits and 3 RBI, while second baseman Jordan Dean contributed 2 RBI for Schaumburg.
The series with Florence continues Saturday and Sunday nights.
"It doesn't get any better than this," said Schaumburg director of marketing Ed McCaskey. "The guys were excited to get it going, and after the winter we had it was nice just to be outside."
"We've got three days of fireworks, and three days of giveaways. It's going to be great."