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W.Va. Power fans treated to free playoff tickets

By Candace Nelson

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A line wrapped around West Virginia Power Box Office early Tuesday morning, as fans waited in anticipation of free playoff tickets.

Nikki Mirth, the box office manager, said 3,500 tickets had been given away as of Tuesday afternoon.

"We had a line before we even opened up to sell tickets," Mirth said. "We walked in and had a line down the street. We've had a steady line in and out all day."

The West Virginia Power began handing out free tickets at 9 a.m. Tuesday for its first postseason game today at 7:05 p.m. against the Hagerstown Suns.

The Power will meet the Hagerstown Suns in a best-of-three Divisional Championship Series starting at Appalachian Power Park today.

For the first time since 2008, the West Virginia Power, a Class-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, clinched a postseason berth in the South Atlantic League's postseason. The Power secured its spot in the postseason when Hickory was eliminated from contention with a loss to the Greensboro Grasshoppers.

"It's great," said Jo Finlayson, 29, of Charleston, who grabbed her tickets Tuesday afternoon.

"I've gone to a lot of games, and I'm looking forward to it," she said of the first playoff game.

LT Ferrell, a ticket assistant, worked the window Tuesday and fielded hundreds of fans' requests.

"I've been here since 9 a.m., and we've seen a ton," he said.

Ferrell said that since there isn't a limit on how many tickets a person can request, some are getting tickets for their whole families.

"One woman just got 25 tickets," he said.

Tom McLane, 48, of South Charleston, said he is a season ticket holder, but the promotion allowed him to get another ticket to bring more family.

"I've been going to games since I was 7," he said, noting he frequented the former Watt Powell Park baseball stadium.

"I'm very excited, and I hope we can bring a championship home. It'll mean a lot to season ticket holders," he said.

Mirth said box seats hold close to 4,000 people, and she doesn't plan on cutting ticket sales any time soon.

"We have no set limit . . . We don't plan on stopping," she said. "We'll still sell standing room only if we run out of box seats."

Ferrell said he's seen some pretty busy nights at the ballpark, like the Fourth of July and a popular "Redneck Night" promotion, but tickets for this first playoff night are moving quickly.

Mark Farrell, 36, of Huntington, just recently began attending Power games and sees the opportunity as a treat.

"I went to about 10 games this year, so I'm pretty excited," he said.

Sarah McDaniel, 28, of Charleston added a "Good luck!" to the team.

Some fans even made the trek from out of town to ensure they get a ticket.

Jim Frame, 55, of Gassaway, made the trip Tuesday afternoon.

"I've been a Pirate fan since I was 5 years old," he said, as he rattled off players' names. He tries to squeeze in as many games as he can, and didn't want to risk missing this one.

"I was running out of people I could call in Charleston," he said. "So I just took the time to come down."

The first 1,500 fans through the gates will also receive a free playoff T-shirt.

This is the third time West Virginia has made the playoffs in franchise history and the first since becoming a Pirates affiliate prior to the 2009 season. The Power made it to the South Atlantic League Championship Series twice, losing to the Columbus (Ga.) Catfish in 2007 and the Augusta (Ga.) Greenjackets in 2008.

After a travel day, the clubs will play Friday at Hagerstown's Municipal Stadium. Game 3, if necessary, will be played on Saturday.

The game will be presented by Bert Wolfe Ford, Thomas Health System, Suddenlink, V100 and US Foods.

For more information, call the West Virginia Power Park at 30-344-BATS.

Contact writer Candace Nelson at Candace.Nelson@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148. Follow her at www.twitter.com/Candace07.


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