POTOSI — Neither rain, nor lightning, nor gloom of night, nor tornado warning, nor ponds of water, nor severe thunderstorm watch would keep Potosi and Highland from finishing their WIAA Division 4 baseball regional final.
Potosi beat Highland 10–5 in a game that began late Wednesday afternoon and ended less than a half-hour shy of two days after the first pitch was thrown.
The irony of the WIAA’s rules requiring that postseason games be played to completion — seven innings unless the 10-run rule applies after the top (home team) or bottom (road team) of the fifth inning — is that Potosi scored all the runs it needed before the game was suspended Wednesday at 6:44 p.m.
Highland had runners on base in every inning except the fifth and seventh. In the first, Austin Yager reached base on an error, then went to second on Nic Pierick’s single, but was thrown out by right fielder Tim Fritz trying to get to third base. Highland left two runners on in the second, then in the third, Bailey Bodenstein’s leadoff single was erased when Yager lined to third baseman Chase Kruser to start a 5–3 double play.
Potosi, meanwhile, scored all the runs it needed in its six-run second inning, on two-run singles by Trevor Ehlen and Hunter Leibfried, plus a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice/error. The inning featured four hits, two Highland errors and two walks.
At 6:04 p.m., the National Weather Service issued the first of two tornado warnings for northern Grant County. Play continued into a second tornado warning at 6:28 p.m. During all this, Highland got on the board for the first time on a bases-loaded triple by Bailey Bodenstein.
Potosi coach Ron Kading removed Fritz from right field to warm him up to pitch. Starting pitcher Tyler Udelhoven got Yager to line out to third base to end the inning.
With skies getting darker and lightning flickering in the clouds, Potosi took a 7–4 lead on a walk, the third Highland error and a Kruser single. The referees suspended the game at 6:44 p.m. due to lightning, and finally called the game to a halt for the night at 8 p.m., after lightning every few minutes reset the 30-minute WIAA requirement.
The resumption was postponed Thursday before most people got to the ballpark because heavy rains from Thursday’s severe weather created ponds of water on the Kading Field infield.
The two-day delay meant that Highland could bring in its number one pitcher, Pierick, when the game resumed under a severe thunderstorm watch Friday at 4:25 p.m. because three days had passed since Pierick had last pitched in the Cardinals’ 5–0 regional semifinal win over Cassville. Pierick was not sharp, however, and the two runners he inherited from Wednesday scored, extending Potosi’s lead to 9–3.
Potosi added one more run in the fifth, on an error, a groundout and a Fritz RBI single. Highland scored its last two runs on RBI singles by Nate Mishek and Bailey Bodenstein, the latter’s fourth RBI of his day. That prompted Kading to replace Udelhoven not with Fritz, as was his plan Wednesday, but team ace Logan Udelhofen, who was again available to pitch after the day off Thursday.
Udelhofen walked the first batter but then retired his last five batters to end the Cardinals’ season.
The Chieftains advanced to the regional final by pounding out 17 hits in beating River Ridge 13–3 in six innings last Tuesday.
WIAA Division 4 Regional Semifinal
Potosi 13, River Ridge 3
(from Tuesday, May 28 @ Potosi)
River Ridge 012 000 — 3 3 2
Potosi 035 221 — 13 17 3
Leading hitters — P: Spencer Hawes 2x4, Hunter Leibfried 3x4, Tim Fritz 2x3, Mitch Langkamp 3x4, Isaiah Kruser 2x3, Tyler Udelhoven 2x3, Trevor Ehlen 2x3. 2B — RR: White; P: Hawes, Fritz 2, I. Kruser, Udelhoven 2. W — Logan Udelhofen (6–1, 6 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 SO, 1 BB). L — Mezera (3 IP, 12 H, 8 ER, 1 SO, 1 BB).
WIAA Division 4 Regional Final
Potosi 10, Highland 5
(from Wednesday, May 29 and Friday, May 31 @ Potosi)
Highland 000 302 0 — 5 6 3
Potosi 060 310 x — 10 10 3
Leading hitters — H: Bailey Bodenstein 2x3; P: Spencer Hawes 2x4, Tim Fritz 2x4, Chase Kruser 2x3, Tyler Udelhoven 2x4. 2B — H: McCollough; P: Udelhoven. 3B — H: B. Ba. Bodenstein. W — Tyler Udelhoven (4–0, 5.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 SO, 2 BB). L — Riley (3.1 IP, 6 H, 9 R, 2 ER, 1 SO, 3 BB).