High Point, NC – Despite the season coming to end after being swept in the Liberty Division Championship Series, the High Point Rockers inaugural season was one of historic proportions. Being tasked with kicking off the Catalyst Project, the Rockers performed valiantly to help kickstart the downtown revitalization in High Point. Their success didn’t just happen on the field, it happened in the community as well.
Following an offseason full of build-up and intrigue, the Rockers had their true Opening Day on April 26th in Lancaster, PA against the Barnstormers. Infielder Tyler Ladendorf would record the first hit as well as the first home run in franchise history on that night. Matt Sergey went on to pitch four innings of one-run baseball as High Point would go on to record their first ever win that night by a score of 7-1.
The excitement reached a crescendo in Furniture City on May 2nd in front of a packed BB&T Point crowd. High Point took the field at home for the first time against the defending Atlantic League Champion, Sugar Land Skeeters. In front of an incredible 5,019 fans, Dante Bichette Jr. would hit the first home run in BB&T Point history, and drive in all three runs as the Rockers would notch a 3-0 victory.
As part of Opening Night, the All Veterans Jump Team Parachuted the First Ball in to BB&T Point
Dante Bichette, Jr. touches home after hitting the first home run ever at BB&T Point
Throughout the course of the season, the Rockers treated their fans to a litany of entertaining moments, including nine walk-off victories. Ladendorf would again make history, belting a solo shot against former Major Leaguer Mat Latos, for the first walk-off hit in High Point history as the Rockers defeated Southern Maryland 4-3 on May 19th. Many more moments like that would come as pitcher Michael Bowden tossed an immaculate inning, nine pitches for nine strikes and three strikeouts, in the top of the first on July 30th against the Blue Crabs. Finally, one of the rarest feats in baseball occurred on August 8th when Joe Van Meter, Michael Russell, and Richie Shaffer combined to complete a triple play in the top of the fourth inning against the Skeeters.
Finally, on September 21st, the Rockers became the first expansion team in Atlantic League history to make the playoffs in their inaugural season. With their final regular season game on September 22nd, the Rockers tied the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs for second all-time in league history for most wins by a team in their inaugural season, clinching a winning season in their first season.
High Point’s impressive play on the field did not go unnoticed as seven players had their contract purchased by other leagues. Jesmuel Valentin (Baltimore Orioles), Seth Maness (Texas Rangers), Dante Bichette Jr. (Washington Nationals), Brett Austin (San Francisco Giants) and Tyler Ladendorf (Tampa Bay Rays) all had their contracts purchased by Major League Baseball organizations, while Quincy Latimore and Alberto Baldonado had their contracts purchased by teams in the Mexican League. Bichette was even named an Eastern League All-Star as both he and Ladendorf helped their affiliated clubs reach the postseason.
Their stellar performance was even recognized in the Atlantic League as seven Rockers went to York, Pennsylvania to represent the Liberty Division in the Atlantic League All-Star Game. Ladendorf, along with outfielders Breland Almadova and Stephen Cardullo, as well as pitchers Ashur Tolliver, Joe Van Meter, Sam Runion, and Brian Clark gave High Point the second highest total of All-Stars by any one team in 2019.
Creating memories for the thousands of fans that came each day was a staple of the Rockers inaugural season. From entertaining theme nights like 80’s Night (May 3rd), Star Wars Night (May 4th), Military Appreciation Night (June 14th), and Carnival Night (August 12th), to one-of-a-kind experiences like playing catch on the field on Father’s Day and watching Fireworks from the field on July 3rd and 4th, there were plenty of memories made at the corner of Elm Street and Gatewood Avenue this summer.
The Rockers didn’t just limit themselves to the on-field success they were having, they also found themselves giving back to their wonderful community. Through donations, ticket sales, merchandise sales, in-game events, theme nights like Mental Health Awareness Night (May 17th) and Breast Cancer Awareness (August 24th), along with specialty auctions via the LiveSource App, High Point raised more than $25,000 for local charities and organizations during the season. Furthermore, roughly 150 jobs and more than 20 internships were created and fulfilled in downtown High Point this summer.
Fans hang with HYPE, the Rockin Horse, on the field for Fireworks on July 4th
The Rockers Held 16 Fireworks Nights, Including Special Pink Ones on Breast Cancer Awareness on August 24th
In what was a historic inaugural season, the almost 150,000 fans that came to see a Rockers game this season made the stadium a rockin’ place to be. The atmosphere at “The Point” was incredible and truly gave the team a home-field advantage. We can’t thank you enough and look forward to hosting multiple events this offseason to benefit the community. The 2020 schedule will be available shortly and you can become a season ticket holder and receive special benefits throughout the season by calling 336-888-1000 or by visiting our front office located on Gatewood Avenue.