LANCASTER, Pa --- Starting in left field for Opening Night at Clipper Magazine Stadium was a familiar face in Lancaster County.
Zach Shank, 28, was born in York, raised and lives in Lititz, is a former Warwick High School Warrior, and is now a Lancaster Barnstormer.
“I actually came to these games when I was a little kid, my dad brought me out here. And obviously, being a little kid, you envision yourself being on the field with these guys and now I get an opportunity to do that," said Shank.
Shank was drafted in the twenty-eighth round by the Seattle Mariners in the 2013 MLB Draft.
After several years in the minor leagues, Shank hung up his cleats in May 2018.
Or so he thought.
“I just realized I missed it too much to walk away. Still physically able and like, you know what? I’m ready to go at it again," said Shank.
The coolest part about being a Barnstormer for Shank? Friends and family can make trips to watch him play after spending most of his career out on the West Coast.
His father, John, and mother, Cindy, said they'll enjoy no longer needing to worry about watching and listening to Zach's games during Pacific time.
“Games would start at, what, ten o’clock? And as much as we’d try to go to sleep, you just can’t do it. You’ve got to watch, you have to listen," said John.
“I’m happy that we’re on the east coast and we get to see him live and we get to do it at a more favorable hour of the evening," said Cindy, with a laugh.
Seeing Zach on the field that holds memories, including a home run derby and a New Era tournament, is a full-circle feeling.
“It’s exciting now to see him as an adult to get out here and play," said Cindy.
“It’s actually unbelievable, unexpected, it came out of nowhere. I didn’t know it was going to happen," said John.
While Friday was another Opening Night for Zach, it still feels like the first.
“Any time you strap it up, you get butterflies, at least for me. Any time you get out there and compete, there’s some anxiety, some excitement," said Shank.
Shank said he is currently pursuing a teaching certificate at Millersville University.
He said he wants to, one day, be a high school math teacher.
When asked what he likes better, math or baseball?
"Baseball," said Shank, laughing.