A Warriors and pro doubleheader

Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Nansemond River and Lakeland have been fortunate to be regular participants in the high school baseball games Norfolk’s Harbor Park hosts each April and May.

The home park of the AAA Norfolk Tides, the farm team one step away from the Baltimore Orioles, is hosting three local high school games this season, and the Warriors will face district opponent Indian River on Thursday at 4 p.m.

I haven’t made it over to each Warriors or Cavaliers game at Harbor Park, but I’ve been to a few of them, and the Tides deserve credit for an excellent idea.

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I don’t know the cost of opening up the park to two high school squads and a couple hundred fans prior to an evening’s regularly scheduled pro game, but I guess the money at least equals out or else the idea wouldn’t be in its 15th year. Half of the ticket price goes to the two schools’ athletic departments.

As far as the neat opportunity it gives to the high school players, it’s certainly worth it. The players usually answer to playing on a big, pristine stage by raising their games.

Thursday afternoon’s game is key to two squads trying to finish high enough to make the district tournament, so there probably will be few thoughts of stopping to smell the roses. That said, there usually is a little extra appreciation to go along with the excitement of playing in such a stadium.

For anyone looking for a chance to play hooky and relax in the sun on a spring day (Thursday’s forecast is 70 degrees and clear) I can’t recommend this more.

Anyone who played ball as a kid, even if not at a varsity level, and even if major-league baseball is of little interest, will appreciate the scene.

And in a way, if you don’t have a rooting interest in one side or the other, that might even make the afternoon even more enjoyable.

The Nansemond River vs. Indian River game is the first part of a doubleheader, followed by Norfolk vs. Indianapolis, so the high school game could be the bonus game, or the Tides game could be the extra incentive for going to watch the Warriors and Braves. Take your pick.