CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Fans are back at GoMart Ballpark to root on the Charleston Dirty Birds.

The 2024 season got underway with a home game Thursday night. The Dirty Birds never led in the game until the very last moment with a walk off single coming from Delino DeShields in the bottom of the ninth inning. Charleston won 5-4 over the Staten Island FerryHawks.

So, fans had plenty to cheer for while at the ballpark for opening day.

Charleston mayor Amy Schuler Goodwin along with some little league baseball players helped with the first pitches before the game. “America’s Got Talent” winner and Logan County native Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. sang the national anthem.

It also wouldn’t be a Dirty Birds home game without the infamous Toast Man Rod Blackstone. Blackstone was excited to get the season going and see fans back at the ballpark, some of them joining in on his chants during the game.

“It’s good to have baseball back and we have a lot of hope,” he said. “We’re going around saying seasons greetings because that’s what we do, it’s baseballs seasons greetings.”

The hope is for a championship in Atlantic League for the first time since 1990 when the franchise was called the Wheelers. The team is under first-year manager P.J. Phillips who had success as the manager of the Lexington Legends. That team won the league championship in 2021.

“P.J. is a proven winner as a manager,” Blackstone said.

Another group of fans who have seen many years of baseball in the capital city were glad to support their hometown team again. The “Rowdy Alleys” have many years of experience in rooting for the Charleston baseball team, through multiple team name changes and a change of venue.

Megan Knight is a member of the “Rowdy Alleys” but it’s a family affair too with her husband, father and mother in the group as well. They love supporting the Dirty Birds.

“It is a group of fans that started over at Watt Powell Park,” said Knight.

“We love that there’s a local baseball team that we can come down here for,” she added. “We like to support them as much as we can.”

Thursday night’s game was also the first Bark in the Park night at GoMart Ballpark. The team expects to introduce new promotions during 2024 games. There’s also some new food items at the ballpark with a news kids zone and a mini golf course. Some popular features return from last year too including $2 Tuesdays and megablast fireworks on Saturdays.