Cumberland Times-News

Mike Burke - Sports

May 16, 2014

Long days journey into a ballgame

— This we know: It always snows during ACIT weekend (it really doesn’t, but we always say it does) and it always rains every day of the first full week of the high school baseball and softball state playoffs (it really does, which is why we always say it).

The score is Allegany 2, Northern 1. Nobody out, bottom of the fifth inning, with Allegany’s Colton Sivic on second and Matt Oleksik on first.

On Thursday, just as Bryce Nightengale stepped into the box to face Northern’s Trevon Jones, the rain became more steady, and the puddles and the developing mud developed even more and began to glisten from what sunrise at Campobello still shone. Once Oleksik had been issued a 3-2 walk, umpires Jim Phillips and Jim Holler, at 3 p.m., decided that would be enough for now, and that a rain delay would begin anew.

The Northern defense trudged off the field; Nightengale dragged his bat back to the Allegany bench.

With the rain, not overwhelming on its own merits, continuing to fall, and with the puddles in the dirt infield developing more and more into the kind of puddles Crash Davis and his teammates once manufactured to purposely create their own rain delay, the teams watched and waited — Allegany beneath a tree (there was no lightning or thunder) along the first-base line, and Northern beneath a small tent off and beyond the backstop on the third-base side.

Fans sat in their cars along Sedgwick Street or huddled beneath the porch of the Allegany gym ... watching and waiting, until, at roughly 3:30 p.m., the head coaches and the umpires decided that the game would be suspended for the second day in a row. For even if the rain did suddenly stop, by the time the field could be made playable the game would be suspended due to darkness.

Thus, Day 3 of the Maryland 1A West Region, Section I championship baseball game is today, with the game resuming at Allegany at 4:30 p.m. The score is Allegany 2, Northern 1. Nobody out, bottom of the fifth inning, with Allegany’s Colton Sivic on second and Matt Oleksik on first.

As of 7 p.m. Thursday, today’s forecast, according to The Weather Channel/weather.com, was “Chance of a shower or two during the morning, followed by partly cloudy skies in the afternoon. High 68F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40 percent.”

That beats the 80 percent chance of rain that was forecast for and became 100 percent on Thursday. Although, truthfully, it doesn’t matter what beats what here because the winner of this game must play Smithsburg on Saturday at Frederick’s McCurdy Field for the West Region title and the berth to the state tournament. Day 3 of this scheduled seven-inning baseball game will begin today at 4:30.

The game, having been suspended in the top of the second inning on Wednesday, was able to reach the bottom of the fifth on Thursday because the athletic directors, Allegany’s Duane McMinn and Northern’s Phil Carr, also the Huskies’ head baseball coach, as well as the school’s respective administrations got the ball rolling early Thursday morning. It was arranged for the game to resume at 1:30 p.m. rather than at 4 because the rains, they were a-coming.

Plan A, however, became Plan B because the umpires, like everybody else, were not expecting the early start and would not be able to arrive until roughly 2 o’clock.

Holler arrived first in full umpires garb to work behind the plate. Veteran umpire Eddie Martin had also arrived but, as he was not scheduled to work the game, he was dressed in a casual green polo shirt, blue jeans and sneakers. Yet, as the skies began to darken at roughly 1:45, Martin volunteered his services, which were gladly accepted by head coaches Carr and Scott Bauer, to work the bases until umpire Phillips could arrive so that the Campers and the Huskies could get in as many pitches, as many at-bats and as many innings as possible before the impending showers fell.

With the casually-dressed Martin, who would fill in into the second inning, perched in position between second and first base, the first pitch of Day 2 of the Section title game was thrown by Oleksik at 1:59, allowing the Campers and the Huskies to play a tight, crisp baseball game for the next 61 minutes and into the bottom of the fifth.

This is the community of community. Everybody lends a hand.

This is the community of baseball. We’ve got a good one going.

Welcome to Day 3.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at mburke@times-news.com

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Mike Burke - Sports
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