By Ted Waddell
LIVINGSTON MANOR May 9, 2003 It was like swinging in the rain.
Umbrella salesmen could have cleaned up at Mondays OCIAA Division VI baseball game between the Wildcats of Livingston Manor and the visiting Roscoe Blue Devils as a persistent rain lashed the fans, and the players huddled against the cold in their dugouts.
It was a lousy day for springs premier sport.
But with a much weather-delayed opening of the baseball season, teams are scrambling to get out there on the field even if it means the batters are swinging in the rain.
Manor (2-2, 2-1 Division VI) was able to overcome the weather and a determined Roscoe team to record an 8-7 victory.
With his team trailing by one run in the bottom of the seventh, Manors Kyle Lackey hit a line drive to right field on a 2-2 count.
After Evan Irwin struck out, Bobby Caputo reached on a solid hit to center field.
The ball then got away in the Roscoe infield on a throwing error, and Lackey sprinted to third in a close call that got mixed reviews from the fans: cheers from the Wildcat supporters and we was robbed sentiments from the Blue Devil fans.
Then Derek Irwin stepped up to the plate for the Wildcats.
I walked up to Derek and said, Hey Derek, envision in your head that youre going to hit a line drive and win this game . . . a big hit is all youre going to see, Manor Coach Rob Farrell said.
With that thought firmly in his brain, Irwin ripped a two-run double to win the game for the Wildcats, 8-7.
Irwin went 2-for-4 in the game and finished with three RBI.
After five frames, Manor had a slim 4-3 lead.
In the final two innings, both teams pulled their bats out of hibernation and started sending several runners across the plate.
Roscoe (0-6, 0-2 Division VI) was sitting pretty in the top of the sixth as the bases were loaded.
Lackey then relieved starter Brian Will on the mound for Manor, and walked James Madera to score Steve Ryder. A pick-off attempt at first misfired and Brian Ballard crossed the plate to give the Blue Devils a 5-4 lead.
Dave Eggleton walked on a full count to reload the bases. After Roscoe scored two more runs to take a 7-4 lead, Lackey struck out Joe Bowers to end the frame.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ballard took over the pitching duties from starting hurler Troy Kirchner with Manors Brian Will at the plate and runners at the corners.
On a 3-1 count, a Ballard fastball eluded the catchers mitt and nailed the home plate umpire squarely in the chest, rocking him back in his shoes. Fortunately he was alright because he was wearing the proper protection.
In the Brian vs. Brian situation, Will won the contest of wills and reached first on a walk.
After Manor scored twice to make it a one-run (7-6) game, Ballard got out of the inning by getting Wildcat catcher Brian Smith to fly out to deep center field.
In the top of the seventh, Josh Mendez took over for Lackey on the mound and sent the Blue Devils back to their seats.
I think both teams played pretty well, said Roscoe Coach Scott Haberli. The difference is that while we had a lot of runners in scoring position with less than two outs, we left a lot of people on base.
Farrell said it was an exciting game.
Hats off to both teams, he said. It was a solid seven-inning game.