by Beau Wicker
ROYAL CENTER —
Caston’s baseball team will take an 8-5 lead against Pioneer into Monday after rain and lightning halted Friday’s action in the top of the sixth inning.
Due to Midwest Conference rules, the game must be completed in its entirety. The Comets are at bat with a runner on first and no outs in the sixth.
The first delay of the night — a one-hour, 12-minute rain delay — caused a major shift in momentum. The second one caused the postponement to 5 p.m. Monday since Pioneer doesn’t have lights at its baseball field. Game two of the series will follow on Monday.
The Comets showed why they’re ranked No. 10 in Class A at the start of the game. They sent 13 hitters up to the plate in the first inning. Caleb Baldwin and Jake Howdeshell had two-run singles to start the scoring. Caleb Rowe’s second double of the inning drove in three runs. Corey Moss added an RBI single that gave the Comets an 8-0 lead.
Moss then quickly retired the Panthers 1-2-3, which included two strikeouts.
Then the first delay occurred, and when play resumed the contrast of play was such that it was almost like the teams had traded uniforms.
All of a sudden, Pioneer sophomore left-hander Deven Smith was as sharp as can be after a rocky start. Over the next four innings he mowed the Comets down, allowing just a single to Rowe in the third and a single by Baldwin in the fourth. Rowe did collect his fourth hit of the night to open the sixth and will be on first base when play resumes.
Meanwhile, Moss lost the sharpness that he opened the game with. The Panthers got to him for five runs in the fourth inning. Smith had a sac fly, Tanner Burks had an RBI single and Tucker Waddups had a three-run single. With the bases loaded and a full count, the runners were sent in motion and Waddups delivered a liner down the first-base line to clear the bases to make it an 8-5 game.
Moss, like Smith did in the first inning, walked three in the frame and all three came around to score.
“I thought the biggest difference was Corey’s a curveball/cut fastball guy, and he just could not get a grip on the wet baseball,” Caston coach Blake Mollenkopf said. “So I felt a little bad for him, but I thought he battled. Hey, another day. He already told me he wants the baseball Monday. He’ll be coming in to finish, so he’ll be fine.”
Rowe is slated to start in game two on the mound for the Comets, Mollenkopf said.
Smith threw more pitches than Moss did, and his availability for Monday is questionable, Pioneer coach Dick Farrer said. Farrer was pleased with how Smith bounced back after the delay.
“Did he calm down and pitch well after that,” he said. “It’s still a ballgame.
“I’ve very proud of them against a very good team. I felt we did a pretty good job. We came out and played some baseball after that.”
Farrer said freshman Waddups could finish game one and start game two on the mound, if necessary. He added freshman Caleb Kindley is also in the mix.
Pioneer 6, Delphi 0
Betsy Bingaman fired a five-hit shutout, striking out six in the win at the Twin Lakes Invitational.
Class A No. 7 Pioneer (13-3) will face Harrison at 11 a.m. and Munster at 3 p.m. today at Voigt Park.
The game was delayed twice by lightning for a total of about an hour, 45 minutes of delays.
“I thought we did a good job of maintaining our rhythm after two delays,” Pioneer coach John Bingaman said.
Betsy Bingaman went 2-for-3 with two RBIs to help her own cause. Riley Morris had an RBI double and two runs scored. Megan Smith had a double and run scored. Brooklyn Mehrley had an RBI base hit. Lindsey Miller had a single and sacrifice fly. Kayte Miller and Jennifer Hughes each added a base hit.
Caston 6, Wabash 2
Tori Rentschler led the Comets to the win over visiting Wabash.
She doubled twice and had three RBIs at the plate, and on the mound she allowed two runs on five hits, striking out seven.
Tierney Rentschler went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Katie Henry had a base hit and two RBIs. Madison Taylor had an RBI single. Alix Hayden added two hits.