Today’s the day, the long-awaited home opener for the Rockland Boulders. If you’re taking the short trip up to the brand new Provident Bank Park in Pomona, you can start your Boulders supporting career and cheer for a hometown kid while you’re at it.
Boulders relief pitcher, Justin Ottman, is a Rockland native and proud to be playing for his Rockland fans. Ottman is one of several Boulders players who are Rockland residents.
“I’m really happy at this moment in my career,” said Ottman. “I’ve had a pretty good career so far but coming home to play in front of the people here in Rockland is a great feeling.”
Ottman, who graduated from North Rockland High School in 2000, has always been around the game of baseball. A former baseball and football player at North Rockland, Ottman decided that baseball would offer a safer, more secure future.
After leaving Rockland County, Ottman eventually found himself in San Diego, playing in the inagural season for the Surf Dogs alongside Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Ricky Henderson in 2007.
“The opportunity of playing with a Hall of Fame player was a great one and not one that many people get,” said Ottman.
Ottman felt that his pitching arm could use a bit of downtime and decided to take a small break from pitching but always remained involved in the game.
“I decided to take a break from playing baseball after that and I coached at clinics and camps for a while,” Ottman said. “I decided to train this winter to give myself a chance to make a team like the Boulders. A lot of work went into it but I ended up making the team.”
“This team is really talented,” said Ottman. “We have experience on the mound, speed and power. We are there for each other and have each other’s back. I think after we get a few home games under our belt and start to gel that we can be a really good team.”
The opening of Provident Bank Park kicks off with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on the home plate plaza, after which the gates will open to the fans for the first time. Fans can also meet the Boulders’ mascot, which will be making its debut, along with clowns, face painting, and musicians.
Pregame ceremonies begin at 7:10 p.m., with Master Sergeant Mary Kay Messenger singing the National Anthem before the first pitch at 7:30 p.m. The stadium's estimated 5,000 seats are sold out for the game, however, as of Wednesday night there were still standing-room-only tickets available.
The stadium is located next door to the Rockland County Fire Training Center, at the corner of Pomona Road and Firemens Memorial Drive, one block off Route 45 in Pomona.
Bobby Blevins (1-0, 3.00 ERA) takes to the mound tonight for Rockland for the home opener against the Brockton Rox.
On Wednesday, Brockton took advantage of five errors from the Boulders defense on to take a 13-6 win in Can-Am League baseball action.
Keith Brachold led the Brockton offense by going 2-for-5 with a grand slam and seven RBIs.
At The Park
An army of construction workers and clean up crews have been working daily at Provident Bank Park to finish details at the field to get it ready for opening night. From completing the landscaping around the park to installing the indoor-batting cage for players, the stadium has been buzzing all week.
New employees who will be working with the stadium's customers have been undergoing training sessions and workers have been stocking the team store and the concession areas.
Provident Bank Park is set up, like many new baseball stadiums, so that concession stands are one the same concourse as the seating — fans don't have to miss any of the action on the field when they go to get a snack. The stadium includes several open areas where fans can sit a tables to watch the game and eat.
The stadium includes a children's playground off the right field corner, and fans can watch players take indoor batting practice through the large glass walls of the practice area. Fans also get to see the players close-up because the home and vistor locker rooms are located on the main concourse — players walk from the locker room, through the stands to get to the field-level dugouts.