NORFOLK — The Norfolk Tides have had a lot to celebrate this year. It began with marking the 30th birthday of Harbor Park Stadium and ended just as sweet with the International League Championship and Triple-A Championship titles coming back to the 757.
The playoffs started at Harbor Park when the Durham Bulls came to town on Sept. 26. The Tides lost the first game out of a best of three, but rallied during the second game to win 7-2, forcing a decisive game three for the International League Championship series hosted at Harbor Park. The Tides defeated the Durham Bulls 7-0 to advance to the Triple-A National Championship.
The Tides then headed to Las Vegas Ballpark to play the Pacific Coast League champion Oklahoma City Dodgers in a one-game national championship final on Sept. 30.
In the championship game, the Tides struck first, going up 1-0 in the top of the third inning. The Dodgers came back in the fifth and sixth innings with a run apiece. With their feet to the fire, and behind 2-1, the Tides stormed back in the top of the seventh with a Colby Cowser grand slam.
With a pair of runs in the top of the ninth, the Dodgers closed within one. Joey Krehbiel came on for the save, striking out the last batter on three straight, giving the Tides to a 7-6 win and the title.
Cowser was named MVP of the game, thanks to his go-ahead grand slam.
Ken Young, Norfolk Tides team president, had much to say about the team’s success in 2023.
“This season was exceptional, thanks to the Orioles, our front office, our game day staff and especially our fans. Not only did they support this special team all year, they came out in great numbers for our three playoff games at Harbor Park. Fans were energized and focused on every pitch, lifting our team to an International League Championship. That sparked momentum to win our team’s second-ever Triple-A National Championship. We can’t thank our fans and staff enough for making this season one that all of us won’t forget,” Young said.
The championship is the second in franchise history, the first coming in 1983. The Tides are the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, who are also seeing success this year. The Orioles are the 2023 American League (AL) East Champions and begin postseason play on Oct. 7.
Harbor Park will be open for pictures with the national championship trophy on Tuesday, Oct. 3. Early access for season ticket holders starts at 10 a.m. Photos will be open for everyone on Wednesday, Oct. 4 and Thursday, Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. The Norfolk Tides store at Harbor Park will also be open, where all national championship merchandise is in stock.
Other celebrations have not been announced at this time.
For more information on the Tides, visit the official website.