One of the Orioles’ most prized prospects, Heston Kjerstad, was set to make his High-A debut Tuesday evening, but — like much of his professional career — it was delayed.
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued Tuesday afternoon for several counties in Maryland, including Harford, and by 5:30 p.m. the storms had damaged Ripken Stadium.
The IronBirds had been scheduled to host the Jersey Shore BlueClaws at 7:05 p.m., but the game was postponed due to damage from the extreme weather. Wednesday’s game was also suspended due to light failure from the storm and will be made up at a future date.
At least two trees, sheared from their base, laid flat in the parking lot outside Ripken Stadium Tuesday evening, and the stadium’s right field wall was damaged. However, the outfield wall was repaired and IronBirds’ general manager Jack Graham said that Wednesday’s game would be played as scheduled.
There are some “miscellaneous areas” with damage, including “broken windows,” Graham said, which he said will be repaired in the future in collaboration with the City of Aberdeen, the owner of the stadium.
Other nearby structures were damaged, too.
Lightning struck the roof of a house located 2 miles from the stadium, kicking up smoke that sparked an attic fire. Aberdeen volunteer firefighters were on the scene at Doris Road when a large tree smashed into a house across town on Washington Street, trapping two people inside. The residents were not injured by the tree but they could not escape the destroyed house, which was deemed uninhabitable.
People inundated 911 with calls of downed power lines, trees blocking at least one road and non-operational traffic lights. Cindy Mumby, a Harford County spokesperson, said a tornado possibly formed in four locations: Forge Road, Singer Road, Cavalry Road and Churchville Road. The county reported the tornado sightings to NWS.
“Damaging wind gusts and large hail are the primary threats. An isolated tornado is also possible,” the National Weather Service’s warning stated earlier Tuesday.
Kjerstad, 23, was drafted No. 2 overall by the Orioles in 2020 but the heart condition myocarditis and a left hamstring strain delayed his professional debut. He hit .463 in 22 games with the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds and was promoted to High-A on Monday.