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Published: Saturday, 8/13/2005

Hens fans fill up park for 100th time


Fifth Third Field reached a landmark last night.

The Mud Hens' capacity crowd of 10,300 against Columbus was the 100th sellout in the four-year history of the ballpark. It came in the Hens' 276th game at the stadium.

The sellout was the 23rd of the season. The Hens had 27 sellouts in 2002, 26 in 2003 and 24 in 2004. With another possible playoff appearance this postseason, the club hopes to bring up that average.

"When we first opened the park we thought maybe the club would average about 400,000 or 440,000 people a season, but we've averaged about 525,000," said Joe Napoli, the Mud Hens' general manager. "As you can imagine, we've been extremely pleased.

"We're always working on new ideas and improving the experience."

Before the game, Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber declared the day "Toledo Mud Hens Spirit Day."

DEFENSIVE DANDIES: The Hens' defense made a couple of nice plays last night.

In the sixth inning, the Hens pulled off a double play when Alexis Gomez caught a fly in right field and threw home in time to get Joe Thurston. Thurston slammed into catcher Brandon Harper so hard that Harper fell backward and rocked onto his back, but he held onto the ball for the final out of the inning.

"To be honest with you, I don't know how I held onto it," Harper said. "It just fell in my glove and stayed in there, Alexis' throw was right on."

In the fifth, left fielder Marcus Thames threw out Columbus shortstop Caonabo Cosme at second after Cosme's hit caromed off the wall.

"Defense comes in big," Thames said. "You've just got to keep your eyes on the game."

BUNTS: Entering last night's game, the Hens (73-46) had the best record in Triple-A. The Hens have spent 52 consecutive days in first place in the International League West. .●.●. Outfielder Alexis Gomez has a five-game hitting streak. He is hitting .368 in August. .●.●. The start of the game was delayed 12 minutes by rain. .●.●. Pinch-running in the ninth, Dewayne Wise got his 17th stolen base of the season. .●.●. Harper's stolen base in the 10th was his third of the year. .●.●. The Hens have hit just .180 (11-for-61) in their two wins in the homestand.

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