PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The West Michigan Whitecaps hit the diamond with a win at LMCU Ballpark for Thursday’s home opening day game.

The Whitecaps played against the Fort Wayne TinCaps. The game was the first of 66 scheduled home games.

Whitecaps starting pitcher Wilkel Hernandez allowed only two hits through four innings. Ben Malgeri hit a home run in the second inning, scoring the Whitecaps’ only run. Fort Wayne was unable to score and West Michigan won 1-0.

The Whitecaps will face the TinCaps again Friday at 12:05 p.m.

Opening day events included the Dixieland band and the first 1,000 fans through the gate got a commemorative 30th-anniversary Whitecaps trucker hat. Fireworks were also planned for the end of the game.

Jenny Garone, the community relations manager for the team, said they have a special year planned for fans.

“Because it’s the 30th season, we’re going to have three different games, decade nights, where we’re wearing throwback jerseys with our old logo and bringing back some of the fun that we had those initial seasons when we started,” Garone said.

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The Whitecaps organization announced earlier this year a five-year, multimillion-dollar project that will bring LMCU Ballpark into the modern era.

Phase one of the project is already underway, though it has been paused as the season begins. This phase is primarily focused on player amenities, said CEO Joe Chamberlin.

“We’re doing a lot of work on the clubhouse,” he said. “We’re adding some batting tunnels. We’re going to completely renovate the field.”

Phase one should be complete before the start of the 2024 season. In 2025, the more visible fan-facing improvements will begin. The project will update the ticket and front office, expand the ballpark to a 360-walkaround stadium and add a new hospitality club at center field.

“If you look at all the infrastructure that’s going in downtown with the amphitheater and the potential for soccer downtown, West Michigan and Grand Rapids is where it’s happening,” Chamberlin said. “We need to make sure that LMCU Ballpark and the Whitecaps are leading that charge.”