By Conner Walker, Staff Writer —
The Defending Southern League Champion Chattanooga Lookouts started their 2018 season this past Thursday at AT&T Field.
The Lookouts were set to play the Birmingham Barons. It was a big night of a sold out crowd, lookout player debuts, and competitive baseball. With the excitement of a new coach and a big name to live up to after winning the championship, the Lookouts came to compete and showed some good potential to be as contenders this season. Unfortunately, the Barons were able to oust the Lookouts 5-4 in Chattanooga’s season home opener.
Just like every team in baseball, the Lookouts had some new players and even coaching that made their Lookout debuts.
The biggest difference with the team this year is the their new manager Tommy Watkins. Watkins was called up from the lookouts single A team this offseason after last years manager, Jake Mauer, stepped down.
Another exciting addition to the team this year is Brent Rooker. The Twins organization drafted Rooker in 2017 after he made a huge name for himself in college at Mississippi State. Rooker was the 2017 National Player of the Year in College Baseball, 2017 SEC Player of the year, and was First Team All-SEC in 2017.
With new exciting talent both on the field and in the coaching spot, the Lookouts look to only improve as the season progresses.
The lookouts were able to strike early in the first inning thanks to a leadoff triple by Lookouts star Nick Gordon. The next at bat, Edgar Corcino hit him in with a sacrifice fly.
With the score 1-0 (Lookouts), the Barons scored in the third inning due to the Lookouts walking a run in to make the score 1-1.
However, the Lookouts did not take long to retaliat. In the bottom of the third they scored another run thanks to Gordon hitting in Ryan Walker, who had reached second on a double earlier in the inning, which made the score 2-1.
The lookouts went on to score again in the bottom of the fourth inning, with Brian Navarreto hitting in Chris Paul from second. The score was then 3-1 and looking good for the Lookouts.
It was then the Barons turn, as they were able to score two runs in the top of the fifth, tying the game at three. The Lookouts responded in the bottom of the fifth, making the score 4-3 after Walker hit his first home-run of the season.
This would be the last run for the Lookouts. The Barons were able to score one run in both the seventh and eighth innings, and the Lookouts were unable to answer. The Lookouts were defeated by a final of 5-4.
Even with the loss, there is a lot more baseball for the Lookouts to come and their potential is still strong. It’s a long season, and the Lookouts will continue their defense of the the Southern League Conference Championship this week in Florida as they take visit the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.