Weather dominates Eagles’ opener

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 7, 2003

[05/07/03] WINNSBORO, La. Mother Nature won Game 1 of the Academy-A South State championship series between Porters Chapel Academy and Franklin.

A nasty thunderstorm hurled lightning bolts all over Franklin Parish and swamped Franklin’s field about an hour before the scheduled start of the game Tuesday, forcing its postponement.

The two teams will try again tonight at 7 in Winnsboro.

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“It happens sometimes, and it’s just something that we have to deal with. Weather is a part of baseball. Sometimes you get rained out and sometimes you get to play, and we’ve just got to deal with it and come back over here and be ready to go tomorrow,” PCA coach Randy Wright said.

PCA’s players had just begun throwing and stretching when the rain started a few minutes after 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The field held its own for about 15 minutes, but a bright flash from a lightning bolt that struck less than a mile away and an ear-splitting clap of thunder signaled the start of the worst.

The rain began to fall much heavier and the wind kicked up, blowing the precipitation sideways at times. After about five minutes, puddles started to form in the infield and before long most of the dirt had turned to mud.

“I thought we were going to get it in. We just got a little bit too much rain. The field will dry and it’ll be in good shape tomorrow if we don’t get any more rain,” Franklin coach Ryan Ellington said. “No way tonight. If we hung around here until 11 o’clock, yeah, this water will be off of here in a couple of hours. It’ll soak in pretty good. But there’s just no way. We’ll get out there and tear the field up, and risk hurting (PCA’s) players and our players.

“The best thing is to call it and get back out here at 7 o’clock tomorrow night.”

Before the series, both coaches were tight-lipped about their starting pitchers for Game 1 despite the fact they’ve played each other twice this season. The teams had exchanged lineup cards before the game was called, giving them a chance to prepare for the other’s starter.

PCA will go with Ryan Hoben (9-1, 0.89 ERA), while Franklin will counter with Matt Doyle (9-1, 1.35 ERA).

Neither side figured the extra day would make a difference in the strategy or preparation for the series, however.

“We’ve seen (Doyle) already this year, so we have to come out and just put the ball in play, and let them make plays,” PCA first baseman Andrew Embry said.