Blowfish baseball team unveils 2020 theme, reaches out to entire county

Matt Padgett, a Lexington native, will coach the Lexington County Blowfish through the 2020 season and was on-hand Wednesday as the summer-league baseball team unveiled its theme for next year. (Staff photo by Tony Baughman)

Lexington County’s own summer league baseball team, the Blowfish, introduced its new head coach and the special theme for its 2020 season during festivities Wednesday afternoon at the Stadium Club.

Matt Padgett, a former Lexington High School standout and current baseball coach at Ben Lippen School in Columbia, will helm the Blowfish, which brings in top college baseball players from around the country to compete in summer league ball. The 2020 season is scheduled to begin Monday, May 25 with the annual Almni Game.

Competition in the actual Coastal Plain League starts Thursday, May 28 with a home opener against the Gastonia (N.C.) Grizzlies.

“I just want to invite everybody out from Batesburg, Gilbert – this is Lexington County Blowfish,” Coach Padgett said after the luncheon for sponsors and local media. “I look forward to seeing everyone come out, support the team – a high level of college baseball. I’d love to have you at the ballpark… See you at the yard.”

The marketing theme for the 2020 season will pay tribute to the return of baseball to the Summer Olympic Games for the first time in a dozen years.

“There was one (theme) that simply stood out from the rest,” Blowfish co-owner Bill Shanahan said, “and that is that baseball is back in the Summer Olympics in 2020!”

The Olympics will be staged in Tokyo, Japan from July 24-Aug. 9 next summer.

“We want to honor the game of baseball in 2020 by wearing special themed patriotic jerseys,” Mr. Shanahan said. “We are ‘Red, White, and Blowfish’ in 2020. Team Blowfish feels it’s important to unite all fish across the nation, including trout, salmon, and tuna, to support baseball in the Summer Olympics.”

The Blowfish also released their 2020 schedule on Wednesday, with 28 home games at Lexington County Stadium. Schedule highlights include 13 games in the I-20 Rivalry Series against the Florence Redwolves and two home games on Independence Weekend (July 3-4) against the Macon Bacon and Savannah Bananas.

Once again this year, the Blowfish hope to see strong support from the western half of Lexington County.

“We have a great relationship with the Batesburg-Leesville and Gilbert area,” said Theo Bacot, General Manager of the Blowfish, “and I know baseball is prominent in that area. So, we really enjoy having the local community members.”

Mr. Bacot said that the Batesburg-Leesville Chamber of Commerce is supportive of the Blowfish and hosts a Batesburg-Leesville Night at the Park, selling tickets for a game that includes an all-you-can-eat stadium buffet. Mayor Lancer Shull has thrown out the first pitch at a game in each of the past two seasons.

“I love the support from Batesburg-Leesville every year. They’re so nice when they come to the ballpark and just so welcoming… We love that we’re the Lexington County Blowfish, not just the Lexington Blowfish. We support the whole county of Lexington and we really pride ourselves on getting out in the community.”

The Blowfish will return the favor this Christmas, Mr. Bacot said, as the baseball mascot and other personnel will participate in the annual Batesburg-Leesville Christmas Parade this December.

For more information on a contest to select the new baseball jersey theme for the 2020 season, visit the baseball team’s website at www.goblowfishbaseball.com.

Story by Tony Baughman / Published October 23, 2019