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Bisons return for home opener on Thursday

The 2018 baseball season in Buffalo begins Thursday as the Bisons host the Indianapolis Indians in their home opener at Coca-Cola Field.

First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m., although morning rain in the forecast could play games with the Herd's schedule. Again. Recall that the Bisons had their first three games of the season in Rochester postponed after snow and cold wreaked havoc on the Red Wings' Frontier Field.

But the Bisons are hoping that the predicted clearing happens in a timely manner as they open a seven-game homestand.

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The festivities begin when 103-year-old Captain Sydney Cole throws out the ceremonial first pitch. Cole, a native of New York City and current resident of Buffalo, served as a pilot in the U.S. Army during World War II. He received the Purple Heart after being shot down behind enemy lines during the infamous Battle of the Bulge. He was also awarded a Bronze Star during the conflict.

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Also on tap for Opening Day, the Bisons will unveil who will replace Celery in the popular WCC Race. Celery retired last season, winning its one and only race in the second-last game of the season at Coca-Cola Field. Celery will remain at the ballpark this season, hanging out at Won Celery Way, near Section 104 to meet with fans while one of the suites has been decked out in Celery colors.

The Bisons return to Buffalo after going 2-1 against the Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium. The Herd won their season opener, 4-3 in 12 innings. They lost the second game, 3-1, and roared in the finale, a 14-8 win on Wednesday afternoon.

Catcher Danny Jansen is off to a hot start, hitting .545 (6 for 11) in his first three games, including two doubles and a home run. Second baseman Tim Lopes is also off to a .545 (6 for 11) start at the plate while drawing three walks. Thanks to a grand slam on Wednesday, Dwight Smith Jr. leads the team in RBIs with six on the season.

The first three games have been a slow start for first baseman Rowdy Tellez who is just 1 for 11, drawing three walks against two strikeouts.

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