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Categories: Celebrating - The Blog, June/July 2022, Sports

What’s cooking with Macon Bacon

by Savannah Smith
Photography by Chris Smith, Katie Linkner and Faith Montgomery

As the Macon Bacon return for their fifth season at Luther Williams Field, they are keeping fun at the forefront both for their fans and the players. Macon Bacon president Brandon Raphael emphasized that attending a game is about more than baseball, as he and the staff are “looking to have something for everybody here.” Whether this is the game itself or any of the dynamic attractions surrounding it, supporting the Bacon is a family-friendly, engaging experience.

Gametime Experience

On Friday, July 1, the Macon Bacon battled the Savannah Bananas in a competitive showdown. Though the hometown team ultimately lost 4 – 2, the players put up a resilient effort against the Bananas. As members of the Coastal Plains League, both teams showcased top-tier talent from Division I and Division II teams, making this the perfect choice for baseball once the NCAA season wraps up.

For those who may not be the most familiar with baseball, spectacles unrelated to sports abound at Luther Williams Field. Upon entering the stadium, the scent of traditional baseball concessions wafts through the air. Between innings, the Bacon’s signature Sizzle Squad rounds up fans to participate in mini games along the sidelines. At Friday’s game, such games included red light green light, passing inflatable eggs and bacon around the stadium and a crawling race between two babies. After the close of the game, fireworks illuminated the field. Until then, the Bacon’s beloved mascot Kevin constantly brought the energy throughout the game.

Player Highlights

Newcomers to Macon, Dan Merrill and Shane Wilhelm emphasized that playing for the Macon Bacon is a new opportunity for them, particularly as their college careers have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. This year is the first time either of them have been able to play in a major summer ball league away from home, particularly in the Coastal Plains League. As Merrill put it, involvement in the Macon Bacon is “a whole production” that transcends the standard summer league experience. Simply looking at the resumes of Merrill and Wilhelm reiterates the sort of talent that the Macon Bacon attracts.

Dan Merill

University: Missouri State University
Position: Pitcher
Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Shane Wilhelm

University: University of Missouri
Position: Pitcher
Hometown: Columbia, Illinois