Saturday’s Class 4A regional baseball playoff between Pearl River and Grant was about as strange as they come.
For starters, it included a 20-minute delay after the home plate umpire was hit by a pitch and apparently suffered a broken collarbone.
It was followed by a home run that turned out to be the only hit for Grant, which won the game.
Then there was a two-hour delay while both squads waited out heavy rain in an attempt to play the best-of-three series finale.
Grant beat the host Rebels in Game 2 on Saturday afternoon 4-1. Game 3 never did take place and was postponed until 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Eighth-seeded Pearl River (18-6) won the series opener Friday night on a dramatic, game-winning home run by Chase Fals.
But the Rebels seemed flat Saturday. They managed only five hits against Grant pitchers, and their own pitchers allowed five walks, threw four wild pitches, and hit a batter.
A passed ball scored a run for the Cougars, as well.
“I knew (we might have an emotional let-down),” Pearl River coach Steve Bullock said. “I warned them of it. But you know it happens. It happens to everyone, and it happens at every level.”
After a routine first inning, things got strange in the second. Grant’s Jackson Bieber walked to lead off the inning, and then the home plate umpire was struck by a pitched ball on a missed bunt by Peyton Davison.
Two umpires handled the officiating duties from that point.
Bieber advanced to second on a wild pitch by Fals, and Davison eventually walked. Both advanced on another errant pitch, and Bieber scored on a passed ball.
Nine-hole batter Cody Watkins struck out, but the pitch rolled away from the plate, which allowed Watkins to reach safely and Davison to score.
Without the benefit of a hit or an error, ninth-seeded Grant took a 2-0 lead into the third inning. The Cougars doubled the lead to 4-0 in the third when Bieber blasted a two-run homer to left field off relief pitcher Chance Lombard. That was the only hit Grant (20-9) had in the game.
Pearl River got a run back in the sixth when Dylan Kavanaugh scored Zach Roy with an RBI single.
Now it’s on to Sunday night’s game.
“I really don’t know if it gives anyone an advantage,” Bullock said of postponing the game to Sunday. “Either way, we have to adjust. ... I do know it’s hard to beat somebody twice in one day.”
After checking out of their hotel Saturday, the Cougars decided to drive back to Dry Prong (north of Alexandria) on Saturday evening. It’s a four-hour trip home, but coach Cody Laprarie said being able to sleep in their own beds could help the Cougars on Sunday.
“If we come back with the energy we had today, we have a good chance,” Laprarie said.