IronBirds set to start off 2011 campaign with home game on Friday night

Friday the Aberdeen IronBirds will kick off their 10th season in high style, with a home-field contest at Ripken Stadium against the visiting Hudson Valley Renegades.

The match-up's first pitch is slated to be thrown at 7:35 p.m., with the stadium's gate opening at 6 p.m. Before the game gets under way though, the IronBirds' front office has a few events planned for the hometown faithful.

Budding country music star Brett Eldredge, of Atlantic Records, is set to sing the national anthem just prior to the game's beginning, and will perform God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch. In addition to his on-field activities, Eldredge will be putting on a show outside Ripken Stadium's main gates for entering spectators.

Before Eldredge's rendition of the national anthem, troupes from the Lutherville-Timonium Recreation Council's Tap and Jazz Dance Program, and Abingdon's Growing Roses Early Learning Center will put on performances. Young athletes from Bel Air Baseball will make a parade loop around the field, and will be escorting the host-team IronBirds to their positions at the game's start.

Presenting the colors in center field before the national anthem is sung will be members of the Harford County Young Marines.

There will be a ceremonial first pitch thrown out on Friday night, but Aberdeen IronBirds public relations director Towney Godfrey said on Tuesday afternoon that the decision had not been made as to who would throw the pitch.

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