Ems play final game at Eugene Civic Stadium

Ems play final game at Eugene Civic Stadium »Play Video
The crack of the bats fell silent Thursday at Civic Stadium as the Eugene Emeralds ended their 40-year run there. A high school team will play there next spring.

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Eugene Emeralds lost to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 5-3 in front of nearly 5,000 fans Thurday.

The crowd, however, seemed not to care much about the score.

Many had come to be part of history. After 40 years, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009, was the last time the hometown baseball team will likely ever play in Civic Stadium.

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Last Emeralds game at Civic is Sept. 3

Although Emeralds Dean Anna, Edinson Rincon and Nate Freiman scored early in the game, it was not enough to hold off the Volcanoes, who came from behind and handed the Ems their sixth straight loss.

The Emeralds will move from the 71-year-old Civic Stadium to the new University of Oregon PK Park for next season.

The fate of Civic Stadium is unclear. For now, the South Eugene High School varsity baseball team will call the stadium home. The outfield will need a little repair before the South Eugene High Axemen play their first game: As the Ems signed autographs for fans at the end of the game, many people knelt and cut out chunks of the outfield turf to take home as a historic momento.

Outside the stadium, people lined up to sign petitions to save the historic stadium.

Inside, long after the Emeralds had gone home, people were still walking around in the outfield, seeming to find it difficult to say one last goodbye.

Photos of final Emeralds game at Civic Stadium by Dan Morrison

The Eugene Emeralds gather to meet their fans at the conclusion of their last game in Civic Stadium.

The Emeralds walk to their dugout at the start of their last game in Civic Stadium.

Outfielder Chadd Hartman #8 catches a long fly ball.

“Balloon Man” Harvey A. Isgur sells his balloons to the spectators in Civic Stadium.

Dean Anna scores.

Edinson Ricon scores.

Nate Frieman scores.

Ems infielder Nate Freiman is picked off at second base.

Infielder Joey Railey #6 gets a solid hit.

The ump calls a strike.

Ems batter breaks his bat.

Ems outfielder Chadd  Hartman #8 signs autographs for fans at the conclusion of the Ems’ last game in Civic Stadium.

Ems outfielder Chadd Hartman #8 poses with a young fan at the conclusion of the Ems’ last game in Civic Stadium.

A fan pulls up a piece of outfield grass as a souvenier of the Ems’ last game in Civic Stadium.

Two fans take home part of the outfield turf as mementos of the Ems’ last game in Civic Stadium.

Fans cheer on the Ems during their last game at Civic Stadium.

The scoreboard at Civic Stadium, on which the score is kept by hand.

Fans bid farewell to Civic Stadium and pull up sections of turf.

Dan Morrison teaches photojournalism and multimedia reporting at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication in Eugene, Ore.