Chatham versus Orleans on the Fourth of July is not supposed to be like this.
The A's emerged victorious 8-4 from a rainy Eldredge Park Wednesday night in a bizarre game marred by three lengthy stoppages of play.
The win was Chatham's third in as many tries against rival Orleans in 2007.
The first delay came in the top of the third. Trailing 2-0, the A's mounted a rally against Orleans starter Wynn Pelzer (South Carolina). Addison Johnson (Clemson) started it all with a one-out infield single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Pelzer then loaded the bases with A's on back-to-back walks and Sean O'Brien (Virginia Tech) came to the plate. O'Brien hit a ground ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford (UCLA), who tossed to second with hopes of starting an inning ending double play. Crawford's throw to second was late, however, as was the relay to first and everybody was safe. Johnson scored the first run of the ballgame for the A's on the play, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
Zach Putnam (Michigan) followed with an infield single to plate another run and tie the score at two.
Things got ugly when the next batter, Allan Dykstra (Wake), came to the plate for Chatham. Dykstra smoked a line drive right back to the pitcher that drilled Pelzer in his kneecap. Pelzer managed to get the ball over the first to retire Dykstra, but a run came home to score and Pelzer immediately collapsed on the mound in obvious pain. The training staffs from both teams rushed onto the field and Pelzer was eventually carted off the field, put into an ambulance and taken to a local hospital.
After allowing two first inning runs on a hit and two walks, A's starter Nathan Moreau settled in and retired 10 of the next 11 batters to face him. Scheduled starter Gavin Brooks (UCLA) experienced tightness and was scratched in favor of Moreau, who pitched for Chatham last season but was making his first appearance of 2007.
The A's tacked on three unearned runs off Cardinal reliever Will Atwood (South Carolina) in the fifth courtesy of a Gregg Glime (Baylor) three-run bomb over the leftfield fence. Glime drove in Putnam, who had reached on an error by third baseman Chase D'Arnaud (Pepperdine), and Kyle Seager (UNC), who had singled.
With Chatham now leading 6-2 after four and a half, the rain, which had been falling throughout the game, began to steadily increase in the bottom of the fifth. The teams played through it, however, and Orleans cut the deficit in half with a two-run double from Dennis Raben (Miami). Mitch Houck (Central Florida) relieved Moreau after the double and ended the threat.
The rest of the game was played in a steady rain. Play was stopped prior to the eighth inning for about 15 minutes as Cardinal players worked on the mound and the dirt surrounding home plate.
After Chatham added two more runs in the eighth on RBI singles from Dykstra and Seager, play was stopped again, this time for good and the game was called after eight innings.
Chatham starts off a three game homestand Thursday night against Hyannis at 7pm. Charles Brewer (UCLA) looks for his first win as an A and will be opposed by Matt Daly (Hawaii).