Lynchburg Hillcats on deck with new players, new manager and returning fans in the seats for the 2021 season

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) – It’s a year of firsts for the Lynchburg Hillcats.

This is the first time fans have returned to the seats since before the coronavirus pandemic.

This is the first time that many players have taken the Diamond in Hill Town.

And this is the first time to manage here for Dennis Malave.

Malave and many others in Lynchburg are on deck and ready to gain momentum this season after the coronavirus was canceled last season.

“I’m going to treat every day like it’s my first day, my first opportunity. Every day is a privilege to wake up and prepare to come to a baseball game, ”said Malave.

For fans, seeing these games unfold is a big step forward for the Hillcats.

“That’s what we’re doing this for. Obviously we do it for the players to develop, but we also do it because we absolutely love the fans. We love Lynchburg and I think it’s a community that is really proud of baseball, ”said Maura Sheridan, director of broadcasting and media relations for Lynchburg Hillcats.

Fans have also sounded the buzz for the new season.

“It was really great to come here, to see all these people just taking in the smells and sounds of everything. It was cool to come back, ”said Zachary Hunter.

“I’ve been to school and kinda locked in the way they do it but it’s pretty awesome to be here to see the world, see games, fun stuff like this Mordecai Jordan said.

And for the players, this year of firsts does not end there.

Pitcher Lenny Torres hasn’t seen the mound since an injury took him out of the game in 2018.

He used his free time to prepare for his Lynchburg debut.

“I take it everyday, just one step closer to my first game, so the three year old I treat it everyday like, everyday, I could get better. Like I was using that to improve myself for my first chance at finally in an affiliate, ”Torres said.

Hillcats newcomer Christian Cairo will also make his Lynchburg debut this season, saying it’s all about re-entering the roster’s talent.

“We all have talent here and we all worked really hard to be here and at that point we just let things happen on the pitch and not focus on the results right away,” said Cairo.

But despite the youth of this squad, the club are excited and ready to take on anyone, including rival Salem Red Sox.

Malave says his team will give 100% every throw.

“One thing they are going to know about us is that we are going to be ready to play and compete on every court until the last pitch and hopefully we’ll be the ones to give a high-five,” said Malave.

The Hillcats started their season last week in a series against the Fredericksburg Nationals, winning a 6-0 shutout.

Copyright 2021 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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