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Dedicated fans can’t get enough of their Reno Aces

Tahoe Onstage

Ruben Garcia and his son R.J., who travel more than 160 miles from Winnemucca to attend the games, soak in the Reno Aces game on Saturday night in their special seats.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Isaiah Burrows

Greater Nevada Field isn’t your average Triple-A ballpark.

While the action takes place on the field, thousands of avid fans pack the park every game, bringing tons of energy and excitement and making their voices heard. On Saturday, Super Hero Night brought out 5,793 spectators in a 9-5 Aces loss to the Omaha Storm Chasers, Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.

Opened in 2009 and holding a maximum capacity of 9,013, the stadium is located at 250 Evans Avenue, 2 blocks away from the famed Biggest Little City in the World arch. The Aces have a season-high of 8,080 in attendance on June 2. Their record of 10,520 fans was recorded on July 4, 2016. Greater Nevada Field hosts an average of 4,778, good for 12th in the Pacific Coast League.

“My wife and I have been going for three years now and we try not to miss a game,” said season ticket holder Chris Hohnholz, who was outfitted as an Aces superhero. “It’s cool to see so many events aimed toward family and fun. I’m not much of a baseball fan myself, but coming out here is a great experience for everyone and it’s worth attending.”

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Kim Berg and Kristena Cline
Isaiah Burrows / Tahoe Onstage

Along with a star-studded lineup of home run sluggers, the Aces deal up a variety of activities before, during and after the game that keeps friends and family entertained through all nine innings.

Born in Minneapolis and residents of the Reno area since 1971, mother Kim Berg and daughter Kristena Cline couldn’t agree more.

“It’s so interesting to us because of all the things that keep us coming back,” Cline said. “The food tastes great and the beer is refreshing. We even enjoy the little games when the (baseball) game isn’t going on.”

“There isn’t a dull moment here,” Berg said. “Nothing is better than eating some food and watching the game.”

If the 6,500 fixed individual stadium seats are filled, fans can watch the game from every angle, including the Circus-Circus Kid Zone located in right field and the Coors Light party zone down the third base line. Participants can also enjoy the action from an elevated point-of-view with 21 luxury suites, or The Best Seats in the House, consisting of two extra comfy Lazy Boy recliners above the Aces’ dugout, courtesy of R.C Willey.

Father Ruben Garcia and son R.J. Garcia, who travel more than 160 miles from Winnemucca to attend the games, were the lucky recipients of the seats Saturday night.

“My son R.J. won tickets for these sits and I couldn’t be happier,” Ruben said. “It’s only our third game and we’re enjoying every second of it. Quite the Father’s Day gift, if you ask me, but coming here is well worth the trip.”

Whether it’s the stadium by itself, or the Freight House District consisting of an outdoor bar and stage area for concerts, Greater Nevada Field brings a variety of personalities together. Tim Dowling, a resident of Virginia for 37 years, witnessed Reno’s 13-5 victory over Iowa Friday night but took issue with the scoring outcome of his favorite player.

“Ildemaro Vargas should have had three hits last night,” Dowling said. “They gave him a bum decision on that line drive to first base. I don’t know how that’s a reach on error. Usually they give the benefit of the doubt to the home team, but not last night. They need to go back and fix it.”

Dowling purchased the 16-game plan and hasn’t missed a beat with the Aces’ hot-bats ever since.

“It’s a good deal to see such a good team on the rise,” he said. “I get a good view of everything that’s going on. I’m glad they’re winning games and stringing some hits together.”

A long night: Despite lacing 16 hits, the Aces’ bats couldn’t withstand the Storm Chasers’ 19 hits and five-run fourth inning in a 9-5 loss Saturday.

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Socrates Brito

Socrates Brito’s fourth homer in five games was a 449-foot blast to right-center with the wind carrying, as always. Ildemaro Vargas extended his hitting streak to 16 games, finishing 4-for-5 with a team-leading sixth triple of the season. Fellow Venezuelan Juniel Querecuto kept his hitting streak going at eight since joining the Aces at second base. After quick recovery of a dribbler and a throw out to first in the second inning, catcher Michael Perez belted a two-run shot for his fourth homer of the year.

Aces southpaw Alex Young collected his second loss of the season. Young went six innings, surrendering eight runs on 14 hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Omaha starter Glenn Sparkman is a perfect 4-0 on the season. Sparkman pitched five innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

Omaha shortstop Jack Lopez drove-in three RBIs, first baseman Ryan O’Hearn added two more, giving him 35 on the year. Off the MLB rehab assignment, outfielder Jorge Bonifacio went 3-for-5 with one RBI. Bonifacio hit .255 with 17 homers and 40 RBIs in 113 games with the Royals last season. Ex-Oakland A’s fan-favorite Billy Burns went 3-for-5 in the victory. Burns hit .294 with 42 RBIs with Oakland in 2015.

Kristopher Negron’s two-run homer knotted the game 2-2 in the first inning, marking his fourth round-tripper of the season. Omaha added to its lead with runs in the sixth and seventh. A three-run ninth by the Aces wasn’t enough.

Notes: Aces outfielder Cesar Puello leads the PCL in on-base-percentage (.454). …  Socrates Brito and Kevin Cron are tied for first in RBIs (35). … Former Aces shortstop Ketel Marte is tied for the Major League lead with seven triples on the season, tied with two other players. Arizona’s 26 triples are tied for the third-most in the team’s history before the All-Star break.

On Deck: Reno (32-37) will look to even the four-game series against Omaha (31-36) Sunday. Aces starter Bradin Hagens will face southpaw Jonathan Dziedzic. The game starts at 1:05 p.m.

– Isaiah Burrows

Captain Ace Chris Honholz is in the house.
Isaiah Burrows

Tahoe Onstage

Tim Dowling and Mason watch the game, critique the scoring.
Isaiah Burrows / Tahoe Onstage

About Isaiah Burrows

Tahoe Onstage sportswriter Isaiah Burrows also is a general assignment reporter for CarsonNow.org, an online news source in Carson City. He is a journalism major the University of Nevada, Reno, where he writes sports for the Sagebrush student newspaper. He is the Reno Aces beat writer for Tahoe Onstage.

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