BRIDGEWATER - TD Bank Ballpark, home of the Somerset Patriots professional baseball team, hosted its first ever Cranford Community Night on Sunday.
Promotions for the day included one-dollar hotdogs, autograph books to the first 1,500 fans, a kids clinic at 3 p.m. that allowed children to train with some of the Patriots on the field, and a pregame autograph session from 4-4:30 p.m.
Through this fundraiser, 307 tickets were sold to the Cranford community, raising a total of $1,688.50 for the Cranford Baseball & Softball League. Once the threshold of 250 tickets was crossed, $5.50 per ticket was donated back instead of $3.00.
"Fantastic," said Mayor Thomas Hannen of the turnout. "That's great for Cranford baseball and softball. They need the money to do work on the fields and stuff like that. This is kind of like a down payment towards that effort."
Four representatives of Cranford threw out ceremonial first pitches, which were Bernie Wagenblast of cranfordradio.com and traffic reporter for NJ 101.5, Cranford Mayor Thomas Hannen, Cranford High School alum and afternoon traffic reporter for News 12 New Jersey Don Smith, and Cranford High School alum and head baseball coach at Rutgers University Joe Litterio. Litterio's son did the honors for Joe.
Cranford residents were in for a thriller of a game. The Somerset Patriots took on the Road Warriors, and after four hours and 26 minutes of 14-inning baseball, the Patriots squeezed out a 2-1 walk-off victory.
"It was a lot of fun," added Mayor Hannen. "The kids were eating and dancing in the stands. A couple of foul balls were caught, and it was just such a good time."