Mother Nature threw DuBois Central Catholic and Ridgway a curveball and altered some team strategies.
The Cardinals were the team that best adjusted.
DuBois Central Catholic took advantage after a 53-minute rain delay with a 5-run fourth inning in a 5-0, 5-inning rain-shortened game at Sandy Beach Recreational Park.
"That was a big part of the game," Ridgway coach Mark Morelli said. "We came out and couldn't get the ball across the plate. Central took advantage of that and were able to get five runs. We hit the ball but the only unfortunate thing was we hit it right at people. DuBois Central found holes. That usually spells success for one team and defeat for the other team. It was anybody's game up until that rain delay. I've always said in my coaching career that you don't make excuses. It's the same for both teams. DuBois was able to adjust to the rain delay, we didn't."
The game was scoreless after the first three innings until the Cardinals' bats began to wake up in the fourth. Anthony Pyne led off with a single and went to second on an error in left field. Ayden Haines and Alex Allender were walked to load the bases. Pat Sayers drew a walk to score the game's first run which was Pyne. Mark Walker singled to score Hanes for a 2-0 lead and Cody Gulvas singled to plate Allender for a 3-0 lead. Ben Miknis doubled to right field to score Sayers and Walker and put the Cardinals up 5-0. Phil Myers walked to load the bases once again with no one out in the inning, setting up a potential for an even bigger inning. Pitcher Jesse Reynolds was able to get Dom Goldbach to ground into a 1-2-3 double play for the first two outs of the inning. Pyne grounded out to shortstop Ben MacDonald to end the inning.
Rain began to fall harder in the bottom of the fifth and after the fifth inning was completed, play was delayed and then the game was called because it was determined that more inclement weather would be on its way. Rain was persistent in the first three innings and the game was delayed because of poor infield conditions after the third inning.
Josh Mitchell started on the mound for Ridgway and threw three innings until the first delay. Mitchell pitched three scoreless innings as he allowed three hits with three walks and six strikeouts. MacDonald and Reynolds pitched in the fourth and fifth innings for the Elkers.
"Depending on the weather, I wanted him (Josh) to pitch as long as he could," Morelli said. "With the weather and the situation the way it was, we just thought there were going to be more games where we're going to need him to pitch. We want to keep him fresh, keep him healthy for the homestretch of the season. Every game's important."
Mitchell escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning. Sayers hit a 1-out single to center field and Walker followed with a single to left. After Gulvas struck out, Miknis was eventually intentionally walked after he worked a 3-0 count from Mitchell. Phil Myers hit a sharply hit ball in the middle of the field but Reynolds made a diving stop from his shortstop position behind second base and was able to fire to first for the third out as DCC was left empty-handed in the first inning.
"Jesse Reynolds made a heck of a play to thwart that bases-loaded situation and then we got out of that second-inning situation," Morelli said.
DCC had another good threat in the second inning as the Cardinals left the bases loaded again. Goldbach was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Pyne was walked to put two on with nobody out. Hanes struck out for DCC before Allender singled to load the bases. Mitchell struck out Sayers and Walker to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.
Ridgway's only inning with multiple runners on base came in the fourth inning. Mitchell walked to lead off the inning and MacDonald singled to put two runners on base. DCC starting pitcher Allender got a flyout and two strikeouts to end the threat.
MacDonald and Reynolds had singles for Ridgway, the Elkers' only two hits of the game. The lack of offense comes after Ridgway scored 11 runs in a Monday loss to Johnsonburg. Morelli said the hot and cold streaks have been a tendency of the team this season.
"For the most part, we played pretty good defense, we had good pitching up until the break," Morelli said.
Allender and Walker were each 2-for-3 for DCC while Miknis had two RBI.
Ridgway (5-10) is scheduled to play at Kane at 4:15 p.m. today and the Elkers are set to host St. Marys at 4 p.m. Monday.