MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Get your peanuts and Cracker Jacks ready! Thursday is opening day for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
While the 2018 season had a lot of ups and downs, the team ultimately missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
The team also parted ways with manager Buddy Bailey, who helped lead the team to their 2016 championship.
This season begins a new era for the Pelicans, who will be led by Steve Lerud as the eighth manager in team history.
Lerud was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2003 and spent 13 seasons as a player before becoming manager of the Eugene Emeralds last season. The Emeralds won the 2018 Northwest League Championship.
Along with a new skipper, the team has a number of new faces on the roster this season, which include catcher Miguel Amaya, one of the Chicago Cubs top prospects.
Lerud believes this team will bring a competitive edge to the field each night and hopes to get as many players a shot at the major league level.
“Obviously winning games is important and you develop through winning games but that is a direct reflection from player performance,” said Lerud.
Pitcher Alex Lange and outfielder Kevonte Mitchell will both return for another season in Myrtle Beach and will be key leaders both on and off the field.
“We’ve got a lot of guys around here with a lot of talent,” said Lange. That talent hopes to pack the stadium each night with some of best fans as the Pelicans look to bring another championship pennant back to Myrtle Beach.
“I expect us to dominate honestly,” said Kevonte Mitchell.
WMBF News will have full coverage from opening day. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. as the Pelicans host the Lynchburg Hillcats.