PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The Pensacola Blue Wahoos 2022-23 season got off to a hot start with the Marlins’ Double-A affiliate earning ‘first-half division’ winner for the South division of the Southern League. Despite a 7-9 start to the second half, the Blue Wahoos (42-38) hold a 3.0 lead for first place while the home field advantage is at an all-time high with a recent advance to the final four of Baseball Digest’s ‘MILB Double-A Best of the Ballparks’ 2022 tournament

Blue Wahoos Stadium entered the 30-stadium field ranked as the No. 2 overall seed with Dunkin Donuts Park (Hartford Yard Goats) as the lone stadium ranked ahead. Regions Field, home to the Birmingham Barons, ranked fourth. 

“These seeds are not the result of a formal grading system, but rather recommendations based on years of attending games, seeing how the ballparks function behind the scenes, how these ballparks have made an impact in their communities and noting how ballparks are regarded within the industry,” according to a release on Baseball Digest. 

The tournament kicked off June 29 with the Blue Wahoos Stadium earning a first-round bye. The 2-seeded ballpark narrowly beat ONEOK Field (Tulsa Drillers) in the Round of 16 with a 53% score. The Elite-8 saw the Blue Wahoos Stadium topple FirstEnergy Stadium (Reading Fightin Phils) with a 61% score

The final four includes Blue Wahoos’ matchup, the 3-seed Hodgetown (Amarillo Sod Poodles) while the other side of the bracket features the aforementioned No. 1 overall seed Dunkin Donuts Park and five-seed Toyota Field (Rocket City Trash Pandas) — formally the Mobile BayBears before moving in 2020.

Final four voting ends Wednesday, July 20 at 2 p.m. CT with the finals set to begin immediately. A champion will be crowned following the conclusion of voting Monday, July 25 at midnight. Voting can be done on the Baseball Digest website at the bottom of the page.

The Blue Wahoos first played on the three-time Southern League Ballpark of the Year in 2012 as this marks the 10th year on this field. The stadium, widely-known for its scenic view of Pensacola Bay over the outfield wall, holds just over 5,000 fans which is the smallest in all of Double-A South. 

In the first seven seasons, the ballpark had more than two million fans attend Blue Wahoo games earning first or second in attendance in the league on five occasions. 

“The playing surface at Blue Wahoos Stadium was officially named Admiral Fetterman Field in 2015 in honor of the late Admiral Jack Fetterman who was instrumental in the creation of Community Martime Park for the Pensacola community,” according to the team’s website. 

Saturday’s game against the Chattanooga Lookouts is ‘Marvel Defenders of the Diamond’ night. The first pitch is at 6:05 p.m. CT. The Blue Wahoos wrap up a series against the Lookouts at 4:05 p.m. CT on Sunday. The first-place team will travel to Biloxi, MI for a four-game series before returning home Tuesday, July 26 against the Mississippi Braves. 

“Get ready for a Captain America character appearance at Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond this Saturday at Blue Wahoos Stadium! Come dressed as your favorite Marvel Super Hero and watch the Blue Wahoos take the field in special Captain America jerseys,” per a Twitter post.

WKRG News 5 is a sponsor of the Blue Wahoos and has on-camera and in-studio talent throw out the first pitch periodically throughout the season. Cheer on the Blue Wahoos and look out for one of our anchors on Sundays. 

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