South Range, Liberty play waiting game
By Tom Williams
For the third straight day, Mother Nature wreaked havoc on area baseball and softball fields, keeping several of high school teams from competing in sectional play.
At South Range High School on Wednesday, an unexpected delay kept the Liberty and South Range softball game from starting.
At 4:30 p.m., both teams were ready to go. But there was no one to call “Play ball!” as the umpiring crew had not arrived.
During the next 50 minutes, the teams cooled down in the dugout then went back out onto the field for another round of warm-up drills. Meanwhile, the sky became overcast.
Finally, men in blue took charge.
“These were emergency guys, they made it as fast as they could,” South Range head coach Don Feren said. “[Umpiring assigner] John Mang was doing what he could to get us someone.”
With thunder rumbling and rain beginning to fall, the umpires called the captains and head coaches to home plate for final instructions.
But before anyone could take the field, the umpires ordered both teams to the dugouts to watch for lightning.
The infield tarp was unrolled.
Junior Carly DeRose, the Raiders’ starting pitcher, admitted that the unusual delays “messed with my normal pitching routine.
“But when it started to rain, that delay gave me time to mentally prepare for pitching in a downpour.”
After another 50-minute wait, the Division III sectional opener was postponed until today at 4:30.
“There was another 15 minutes left on the lightning clock when they called it,” Feren said. “It would have taken eight, nine minutes to roll up the tarp and then both teams would have needed to warm up.”
Feren didn’t mind the postponement.
“Especially for a tournament game where the losing team is done,” Feren said. “I would hate to have someone slip on wet grass and it costs them the game. You don’t want anyone getting hurt.”