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Curve take final two home games

The Curve wrapped up the home portion of the schedule with a terrific weekend on the field and in the stands.

Altoona blasted Erie, 11-0, on Saturday and won Sunday, 5-2, in the home finale at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

Saturday’s game drew a season-high crowd of 7,209, one big number that ensured another key number.

With that huge turnout, it allowed the Curve to lock up a season attendance average of at least 4,000 fans per game, staying above the milestone figure that the franchise has never fallen below in its 22 seasons.

Sunday’s crowd was 4,980, putting the final attendance average for the season at 4,032. That’s the lowest season figure in franchise history, but then again, this was a season unlike any other the team has faced.

It was a trying year in many ways for the Curve and all minor league franchises. The season started a month later, crowd sizes were limited early on because of COVID, week-long six-game series became the norm — with two 12-game series spread out over two weeks also testing the front office — and yet the Curve still drew enough fans down the stretch to assure finishing above 4,000.

“I could not be more proud of our staff and all of the extra work that so many of our employees took on to make this season a success,” Curve general manager Derek Martin said.

“We were short-staffed for much of the year and dealt with unprecedented obstacles, but in the end their hard work and the support of the Altoona community were what made this all possible.”

High note

The Curve had a tremendous night Saturday in the 11-0 rout, erupting for six runs in the fifth inning to pull away. The big crowd saw an explosion on the field, then the final postgame fireworks show of the season, sending everyone home happy.

Johnstown native Trey McGough pitched seven shutout innings Sunday as the Curve built a 5-0 lead. The pitching went south in the ninth inning with three walks and two hit batters, but Erie only managed two runs as the Curve held on for victory.

Altoona finished with a rare losing record at home for the season — a 28-29 mark — but at least said goodbye with a couple of wins.

“It was good to see that from the team,” Curve manager Miguel Perez said. “They’ve been giving everything that they have over the course of the year. They know that we played not as good as home as on the road.”

Altoona holds a special place for Perez, who once played for the Curve and is the first former player to manage the team. So he enjoyed being back here this summer.

“You know how I feel about Altoona,” Perez said. “It was an honor, a privilege to be the first former player to lead the Altoona Curve.”

Perez also appreciates the support of the fans.

“They make sure that we feel good, that we feel like we’re at home,” he said. “And they’ve been doing it for years. I really appreciate the unconditional support.

“It was cool to go out and finish strong and give them a couple of wins.”

Stats and stuff

The Curve scored two runs in the third and fourth innings Sunday. Grant Koch hit a two-run homer in the third, and Matt Fraizer drove in two runs.

McGough (5-5) allowed just four hits over seven innings, striking out five with no walks.

Erie starter A.J. Ladwig (5-7) gave up four runs in 3ª innings for the loss.

The Curve now finish up with seven games in six days at Bowie, beginning with a doubleheader Tuesday.

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