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Lightning, umpires help put end to 17ers’ win streak

Posted: June 22, 2014 9:21 a.m.
Updated: June 23, 2014 5:00 a.m.

It took Mother Nature and a pair of confused umpires to help put an end to Kershaw County’s Post 17’s six-game win streak.
Trailing host Cheraw, 8-6, with runners on second and third with one out in the top of the seventh on Thursday night, lightning was seen around Tom Brewer Field as the umpires ordered both teams off the playing field. KC head coach Craig Smith said the field was in perfect playing condition, the base umpire called an end to the game, giving Cheraw the two-run win.
What took place with the weather and the umpires was something Smith said he had never experienced before. A storm system was headed toward Cheraw and when the wind picked up, the umpires sent both teams to the dugout after the guests scored a run in the seventh and had Austin Hayes, who singled, on third and Russ Radcliff, who also singled, on second.
The field received about five minutes worth of rain, making the once-dry playing surface perfect. Smith said he though the game would resume until the base umpire walked around the infield before making his way to the KC dugout.
“He came to our dugout and said, ‘Game’s over. Tornado warning,’” Smith said. While looking at a radar, the system had made its way around Cheraw and there was nothing behind it. The umpires never allowed the mandatory 30-minute wait period for inclement weather, Smith said, instead, sending the guests to their bus
The game was a make-up contest from the previous Wednesday night game which was rained out in the fourth inning with the hosts leading that one, 9-7.
The disputed outcome was the 17ers’ first loss in League III play since kicking off the campaign with a 12-2 loss to Dalzell-Shaw. KC fell to 6-2 in League III action heading into Friday’s game at Manning-Santee.
While in the bus, Smith phoned Cheraw head coach Steve Sellers to congratulate him on Post 23’s victory. But, Sellers informed Smith that the game was not over and it would resume. But the umpires then told the coaches “That’s it. We’re going home,” Smith said.
KC jumped to a quick 4-0 lead which it held through three innings before three infield errors opened the doors for five Cheraw runs as the hosts took a 5-4 lead into the sixth inning. “We didn’t play good defense,” Smith said one night after his team played error-free ball in a win over Manning-Santee. “Cheraw deserved the win.”
Going to their bullpen, Post 23 started struggling as Tyler Bowers evened things with a solo home run. Cheraw responded by scoring three times in the seventh to take an 8-5 lead which stood at 8-6 when the game was stopped.
“We had gotten to their bullpen and we were ready to step on the gas when they stopped the game,” Smith said.
The guests, Smith said, did not get a call all night including two plays that went against the 17ers which drew the fans’ ire. One of those came in the bottom of the fourth when, on a play at home, KC catcher Hayes tagged a Cheraw runner two steps in front of the plate only to be ruled safe.
Smith said he knew things could get interesting right from the start when one of the umpires, at the pre-game meeting at the plate, asked the P-17 boss who would be the courtesy runners for his pitcher and catcher. Smith politely told the umpire that in American Legion baseball, which  plays by American Legion rules, catchers and pitchers --- if they bat --- must run the bases for themselves.

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