By Rob Potter
SWAN LAKE July 16, 2004 On Wednesday night, The Nugget and New Hope softball teams squared off in a Sullivan County Womens Softball League B Division game.
In addition to battling their opponent across the diamond, each team had to deal with another adversary Mother Nature. A light rain fell throughout much of the game, turning the dirt infield into a slippery, muddy, puddle-filled mess.
Despite the wet conditions, both teams were determined to play and win the game, which was held at the Swan Lake Fire Departments Max Eronimous Field. In the bottom of the third inning, the heavens opened up and the steady rain became an absolute downpour. Players, coaches, fans and the umpire took shelter under a nearby pavilion until the rain let up a bit. About 10 minutes later, the rain slowed considerably and players from both teams returned to the field and used whatever the could, including a metal grate normally used to smooth out the dirt infield and a block of wood, to push the excess water off the field.
Although a light rain continued to fall, play resumed about 10 minutes later. The Nugget withstood a furious New Hope rally to record a 15-14 victory. In the sixth inning, The Nugget held a seemingly comfortable 15-8 lead. But New Hope sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Jasmine Thomas led off the frame by beating out a ground ball to shortstop. Penny Schrier and Kelly Cicero then each hit a single to load the bases with no outs.
The next batter, Allison Whipple, ripped a single to right field to score Thomas and Schrier. After Devon Davis reached on an error, Lori Kimmes hit a two-run single to left field to make it a 15-12 game.
Two batters later, Tammy Sondermeyer safely made it to first base after hitting the ball just a few feet in front of home plate. Davis ran home on the play, bringing New Hope to within two runs, 15-13.
After the second out of the inning was recorded, Kerri Vandermark singled to bring Sondermeyer around to score.
New Hope was within a run, but Nugget pitcher Rosemary Steuber struck out the next batter to preserve her teams lead.
As the New Hope fielders prepared to take the field for the top of the seventh, the umpire decided that the field conditions had become too dangerous and halted the game.
New Hope had to rally a few times in the contest as The Nugget grabbed an early lead and added to it nearly every inning.
The Nugget took a 5-0 lead in the top of the first. With two runners on and no outs, Erin Brown hit an RBI single to left field and Stefanie Kellam followed with an RBI single to left center.
Two batters later, Roxanne Kehrley gave The Nugget a 3-0 lead by hitting into a fielders choice that allowed Brown to score from third base. Three batters later, Amy Miller ripped a two-run single to left field to give The Nugget a 5-0 advantage.
In the top of the third, The Nugget extended its lead to 8-1.
New Hope answered with four runs in the bottom of the third, however.
Kimmes ripped an RBI double to center field and Lisa Lawrence hit a two-run single to left field to bring New Hope to within three runs.
The Nugget added four runs in the fourth and two in the fifth to take a 14-5 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, New Hope scored three times to narrow the gap. The key hit in the frame was a two-run double by Lawrence.
Debbie Noecker knocked in what proved to be the game-winning run in the top of the sixth. With two outs and runners on second and third, Noecker beat out a ground ball to third base and Cheryl Hughes scored on the play to give The Nugget a 15-8 lead.
New Hope then began its comeback that ultimately fell one run short.