Railroaders to open season tonight

May 9—Many are hoping that this afternoon's predicted thunderstorms don't hinder the much-anticipated Opening Day for the Cleburne Railroaders' 2024 season. First pitch is at 7:06 p.m. at La Moderna Field as they face the Winnipeg Goldeyes in their first home series.

"There's a dozen guys coming back this year, mixed in with some new players," Club Manager Pete Incaviglia said. "We're going to have a very athletic team. I like having an athletic team and guys that can play multiple positions because of roster limits. My teams are guys that can help you win a game in more ways than one. They can run, they can hit, they can defend ... they can do it all."

Hill Alexander is one of those returning players, as this marks his third season with the team. The outfielder lives in Fort Worth and said he enjoys playing close to home.

"It's a great place to play," he said. "The fans are awesome. The stadium is great and just keep wanting to come back."

Alexander had the chance to play for the previous ownership and said he looks forward the season under the new ownership, Railroaders Baseball Partners LLC, who assumed majority ownership of the team in June 2023.

"The new ownership is really on top of things, from communication to stuff they're doing around the stadium," he said. "It's really awesome. The new coaches are awesome. We've got to spend a little bit of time with Pete and the hitting coach Ruby and they're good guys who know what they're talking about and I'm excited to play for them."

Alexander was an All-Star last year and ended the season as one of the top three outfielders in the American Association of Professional Baseball league.

"We're going to be really, really good," Alexander said. "How they've been able to recruit and sign players this year is awesome."

Players began filing into the stadium at the end of April to begin working out.

"Our hopes are always to win a championship," Incaviglia said. "That's why we're all here. If we're not all thinking about winning a championship then we probably need to go do something else. The mindset in everything we do is to try to move forward and get in a championship and win a championship."

Incaviglia said his entire coaching is looking forward to seeing what the team can accomplish together. After looking at them on paper, he said they're excited to seeing what they can do every day on the field.

"We have a very talented team," he said. "We have a lot of guys with Major League pedigree. I think we are very diverse in what we can do. We got guys in bullpen that can throw the ball 100 mph and we've got guys who can run and steal bases. Big power."

Stacy McNabb was in the stands to watch practice during the Railroaders recent Media Day. He and his wife have served as a host family for the Railroaders since the 2017 season.

"Being a host family is probably our favorite part of Cleburne Railroader baseball," he said. "It's like having your own kid playing basically. It's a great way to get involved personally with the team."

This year they are hosting Seth Romano, one of the pitchers. McNabb said every year is a different experience when hosting a player.

"It just depends on the player," he said. "Some players hang out with you a lot and some players just stick to themselves."

For the opening game, the players will be sporting new baby blue uniforms. A giveaway for attendees is sponsored by First National Bank Granbury.

Friday night is Fireworks Night, sponsored by La Moderna, so stay after the game for the show.

On Saturday night, kick off the dog days of summer DOG-O-PAW-LOOZA. All furry friends through the gate receive an H-E-B dog bandana. Dog tickets can be purchased at the box office for $2 each, which is all donated to Humane Society of North Texas.

The Cleburne Railroaders have advanced to the postseason in each of the last three seasons while competing in the independent American Association, an official partner league of MLB. The Railroaders joined the American Association as an expansion franchise in 2017 and play their home games at La Moderna Field.

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