Game 11 1/2: When lightning strikes

We've played some tough games, this season. But today, the weather was our toughest opponent.

We'd been toughing out a heat wave this weekend. Heat indexes of 95 degrees ... Before today's game, half our guys were shooting e-mails to coordinate who was bringing the water-filled coolers -- not how we'd set up our lineup.

By game time, the air was still thick with humidity. But clouds had settled over the diamond, covering the sun, and a swift breeze was blowing out toward right field.

We were up against the second place team today, the same team that knocked us around for a 12-2 loss in our second game of the season ... But we knew if we could keep our defense tight and just get our bats going against their pitching, we could hang with them.

We gave up one run in the top of the first and then went down in order in the bottom half of the inning. I led off with a flyout to left field. ... In the second inning we tied the score, 1-1, but they went ahead again in the top of the third, 2-1.

Then the lightning struck -- figuratively.

Our first batter in the bottom of the third grounded out. The second batter singled. The third batter struck out. The fourth batter was hit by a pitch ...

So it was my turn to bat with two outs and two runners on. I took the first pitch for a ball, low and away -- but the ball skidded away from the catcher and the runners advanced. When the catcher tried to gun down the lead runner at third base, the ball sailed into the outfield, and the tying run scored. The other runner moved to second base.

I took my second pitch for a ball, up high ... The third pitch was at my waist and a little off the plate. I took a good cut -- and smoked the ball for a line drive into right-center field. The ball rolled to the fence, and as I rounded first base I was thinking I had a chance at a triple. But the outfielders made a clean relay and I went in standing at second base for a double instead. We had taken a 3-2 lead.

We didn't stop there, either. The next batter walked, and I scored from second base when the following batter hit a liner into left-center field ... We knocked the starting pitcher out of the game and put together enough hits to take a commanding 8-2 lead at the end of the third inning. We were stoked.

Then the lightning struck -- literally.

The win gusts had picked up to hurricane-caliber. The clouds swirling over the ballpark were getting darker -- so much that a couple of us were dispatched to turn on the stadium lights -- at 4:15 in the afternoon. There was a brief downpour as we took the field to start the fourth inning, but it was nothing we didn't think we couldn't play through ...

But the umpires spotted a flash of lightning beyond right field, and that would put an end to our fun ... By rule, the game had to be postponed 30 minutes every time a lightning strike was spotted. In the time we waited, two more were spotted -- even though the clouds appeared to be dissipating in the west. After about 20 minutes, the umpires put it up to our managers to decide whether it was worth continuing. We could be waiting here for a long time, they reasoned.

The coaches decided to end the game, and we started packing up ... It was too bad for us. If only we could have gotten six more outs, the game would have been official -- a big win! Now, we'll likely have to start from scratch -- if we even decided to makeup the game. This late in the season, it's possible we won't replay it.

About an hour later -- once I had shed my uniform, showered and settled in at home for a night of watching Sunday Night Baseball -- the TV stations were breaking in, warning of severe thunderstorms approaching. Right on cue, as the TV's radar showed nothing but red over our area, the sky darkened again and the rain came in force.

It was probably a good thing we called our game, but ... ah, rats.

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