WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Opening day for the Sacramento River Cats brought fans and players back together and maskless for the first time in two years as the hometown team took the field to finally defend their 2019 National Championship.

“Hopefully, that inspires these guys to bring a national champion back to West Sac,” River Cats President Chip Maxson said of the new season.

READ MORE: Stagg High Stabbing Suspect Anthony Gray Ordered To Undergo Mental Evaluation

The River Cats gave fans in attendance a nice gift with a walk-off base hit in the bottom of the ninth inning to seal their first win of the season 7-6 against the Sugar Land Space Cowboys.

Maskless fans flooded Sutter Health Park on Tuesday without any COVID-19 protocols in place and were ready to cheer on their hometown team.

“Even though we’re affiliated with the [San Francisco] Giants, it is still Sacramento River Cats,” fan Chris Paulsen said. “This is our home.”

That’s a fact that held a much deeper meaning during Tuesday’s opener.

Prior to the game, the River Cats held a moment of silence for victims of Sacramento’s downtown mass shooting with a message saying:

“Please join us in observing a moment of silence to honor the victims and their loved ones affected by the tragic incident in downtown Sacramento.”

READ MORE: Boosted Californians Getting COVID At Twice The Rate Of Those Vaccinated But Not Boosted

“Like all Sacramentans, our hearts broke Sunday morning when we woke up and heard the news,” Maxson said.

He says sports will do what it always does: bring people together.

“We’ll all come together to cheer on the River Cats here in Sacramento, so we want to bring a little bit of normalcy and peace back to our city,” Maxson said.

And what’s more normal than baseball and ballpark hotdogs?

“It’s fun to be back,” said guest services usher Lynne Thomas.

MORE NEWS: Applications Now Open For $10K Grants For Sacramento Artists

The River Cats are still looking to fill positions at Sutter Health Park and ask anyone who’s interested in applying to do so online.