EAGLEVILLE, Mo. — Mother Nature must not be a baseball fan.
If she were, she'd want to see North Harrison (12-4) and Northeast Nodaway (12-1) play a full game, but for the second time this season, the Shamrocks and the Bluejays had a game cut short because of the weather. Unlike their May 6 game that was never completed, Monday's sectional game which was delayed in the middle of the sixth inning, will be completed at some point, although the question of when will once again be decided by Mother Nature with the forecast looking bleak for the rest of the week.
Whenever play does resume, it will be up to Spencer Gray, Maverick Price and Auston Pride to extend the game in the top of the seventh as the Shamrocks hold a 3-1 lead.
Before they get to that point, Northeast Nodaway will need a clean inning from senior Chet Spire in the bottom of the sixth, but with Spire's shiny 1.04 ERA this season and the Shamrocks' 7-8-9 hitters due up that seems likely.
“It was Ethan's (Adwell) start, we knew that going in and he did his job,” Northeast Nodaway coach Vance Proffitt said. “With Chet, we will keep him under a pitch count if we can and try to come back, get some base hits and score some runs. I think, pitching-wise we are doing great, it is just — let's score some runs.”
While Northeast Nodaway has its ace on the bump, North Harrison may as well with Logan Huitt and Tyler Lundy combining to pitch the first six innings, but with each likely unavailable for the final frame, the Shamrocks will likely turn to their ace Grant Claycomb, who allowed three runs in six innings in the district final against Pattonsburg.
Play is tentatively scheduled to resume of Tuesday with no announced time yet, but with a 90 percent chance of rain Tuesday, play may continue to be pushed back.
Monday's action started off well for the Jays with freshman Ben Boswell — filling in for injured All-State shortstop and lead-off hitter Spencer Weir — worked a walk to lead off the top of the first. After he stole second, Boswell came around to score on a one-out hit by Spire to give the Bluejays a 1-0 advantage.
Junior Ethan Adwell took things from there on the mound as he breezed through his first trip through the Shamrock order. Adwell recorded five strikeouts and allowed just one baserunner — on a bloop single — to get through the first two and two-thirds innings.
“We got everything out of Ethan that we needed to get out of Ethan,” Proffitt said. “He did his job and defensively, we made plays that didn't help him out.”
Things immediately got tougher for Adwell with Claycomb doubling and Brett Emig being hit by a pitch. Logan Craig followed with a single to center field which got by Reed McIntyre and allowed two runs to score.
The Shamrock lead stayed at 2-1 with the Bluejays failing to capitalize on several chances against North Harrison reliever Tyler Lundy.
“I think it all comes down to how how many runners we've left on base,” Proffitt said. “That is the whole name of the game right now, we are probably at like 15.”
Proffitt wasn't far off. Through six innings, they have stranded 13 runners.
In the third inning, Lundy came in with the bases loaded and two outs, but was able to escape the inning with a strikeout of Spencer Gray. In the fourth inning, a single by Levi Boulting loaded the bases again with two outs, but Spire grounded out to third to end the inning.
In the fifth inning, the Jays had two on with one out, but a pop-out by Maverick Price and a strikeout by Auston Pride ended the threat. In the sixth, they loaded the bases again with two outs, but McIntyre grounded out to first base.
North Harrison's offense added an insurance run in the fifth inning with the Jays struggling to field the ball. An error by Boulting allowed the leadoff hitter to reach and Adwell hit Claycomb with a pitch. Spire came in in relief to strike out Emig, but an error from Boswell allowed a run to score before two more strikeouts ended the inning.
“We have to pick them (our pitchers) up and we have not done that the last few games,” Proffitt said of the errors. “We have to do a better job of it. And we will.”
Adwell's final pitching line included four innings with three hits, one walk, seven strikeouts and two runs allowed.