By Jim Flick
In a game whose outcome was in doubt until the final pitch, Canfield and Howland played to a 4-4 tie in a 10-inning game Tuesday.
Yes, a tie. The sun set with the teams dead-even on the scoreboard after a full game plus three extra innings, and the game was called on account of darkness.
The game will resume when Canfield visits Howland on April 23. The teams will conclude the contest they started Tuesday before starting the regularly scheduled game.
“I get a few more gray hairs every time we play Canfield,” Howland coach Rob Thompson said. “For the last four years, it’s a chess match every game.
“Each team had some opportunities they couldn’t capitalize on tonight, and that’s where we’re at this time,” Thompson added. “We gave them some things, they gave us some things.”
“We fought hard,” countered Canfield coach Matt Koenig. “It’s a shame. We had a lot of opportunities to win the game and were unable to pull it out.”
Koenig said his team has opportunities in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, but couldn’t deliver.
“We had guys who were too anxious at the plate,” he said.
“Later in the season, these guys will come through,” Koenig added. “They’re still learning.”
In fact, Canfield loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth and the last batter ran the count to 3-2. The game ended when a Canfield player took a borderline pitch the umpire called a third strike.
Statically, Canfield dominated the game.
Brock McGivern, Justin Vrabel, Kyle Vaclav, and Anthony Ross each hit doubles for the Cardinals.
Benson hit safely three times, while Ross and McGivern each were credited with two hits.
Howland didn’t record any extra-base hits. Corey Hickman smacked three singles for the Tigers, stole a base, and was credited with the team’s only two RBIs. The other two runs scored thanks to a Canfield error and a passed ball.
Adam Shrodek hit safely twice for the Tigers and stole a base.
The Tigers took the first lead of the game in the second inning. With two men aboard, Howland left fielder Josh Davis smacked a ball to left field that a Canfield player misplayed, allowing Brandon Neilan to score.
Canfield evened the score in the bottom on the second, when Ross delivered a double to drive in a run.
The Cardinals took the lead in the bottom of the third, when Reinthaler singled to left.
Howland took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth, when Shrodek scored on a passed ball and Hickman singled to drive in a run.
But Canfield countered in the bottom on the fifth. The Cardinals took a 4-3 lead after Vaclav hit a double to center to plate a run and Benson brought home another run when he hit a bloop single to center.
The Cardinals held the lead until the the seventh. With two outs Hickman singled to left to drive in the run that tied the score.
With officials watching as the setting sun darkened the field, Canfield loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th inning but failed to score.