To be continued.
That’s the story of Class 2A sixth-ranked Council Bluffs St. Albert’s visit to Panther Field for a varsity baseball doubleheader Thursday.
With two lightning delays at 6:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. interrupting play, the Falcons finally finished a 6-3 victory in game one on Little League Recognition Night.
The umpiring crew, which included Creston High School graduate Brian Scrimager of Clive, met with both coaches when lightning was spotted again in the western skies during game two. With a thunderstorm front approaching, play was suspended for the night with St. Albert leading 2-1 in the top of the fifth inning.
When the game resumes, it will not be played in Creston. The final three innings will be played prior to another St. Albert road conference game.
“We’re looking at July 7th, when they play JV-varsity at Red Oak,” Creston coach Steve Birchard said. “They really fill their schedule up. We didn’t have many options.”
St. Albert, now 13-4 overall, was coming off a 12-2 victory over Class 3A top-ranked Sioux City Bishop Heelan Catholic Wednesday night. The Falcons are tied with Denison-Schleswig for second in the Hawkeye 10 at 9-3, a half-game behind league leader Harlan.
Creston, now 8-9 overall and seventh in the league at 7-7, was competing for a split when play was halted. Cole Crawford had pitched four strong innings, allowing two runs on six hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
That followed a solid finish by freshman Chase Shiltz in taking the game one loss. Shiltz gave up seven hits in the first four innings, but then retired 10 of the last 12 batters he faced.
“We don’t want to take solace in the fact that we lost a close one and we’re in a tight one now,” Birchard said. “You want to still win. But the point is that Heelan is probably a pretty solid No. 1 choice (in 3A), and this team just 10-runned them. We see what they are, and what we are, so you have to believe that we could be there with consistent effort.”
The difference between the two teams on this night, Birchard said, was more consistent good swings by the Falcons, particularly with two strikes, while the Panthers were lacking timely hits with runners in scoring position.
“We had some poor swings on 0-0 counts,” Birchard said. “We’re hitting a lot of easy outs right now. They did a really good job of hitting where it was pitched. And they were good up the middle with their infield.”
St. Albert erased several Creston scoring chances with four double plays on the night.
Leadoff batter Conner Pals had a 2-of-2 game going in the nightcap for the Panthers, after rapping a pair of hits and reaching base three times in the opener. Garret Taylor also had two hits in game one and Trevor Luther had a run-scoring double as the Panthers took a 2-1 lead in the first inning.
Freshman Cody Crawford played left field in the second game with Taylor sliding over to center, as Crawford pitched. Normally, senior Trey Benson would split outfield duty with Taylor, but Birchard said Benson is awaiting a July 2 MRI on a possible stress fracture in his foot. The same injury hampered him during his sophomore year.
“They can’t tell what’s wrong right now, but they suspect it could be the same thing he had a couple of years ago,” Birchard said.
Today the Panthers are scheduled for nonconference action at Osceola Clarke, with JV at 4:30 p.m. because of lighting problems at Clarke’s baseball field.
Class 1A sixth-ranked Martensdale-St. Marys visits Panther Field Monday before Creston resumes conference play Tuesday at Red Oak.
St. Albert 6, Creston 3
R H E
St. Albert 120 300 0 — 6 8 2
Creston 200 100 0 — 3 7 1
SA: Travis Miller 1K 0BB and Nick Golwitzer. Cr: Chase Shiltz 6K 4BB and Kadon Hulett. W — Miller. L— Shiltz. 2B — SA: Jon Meyering; Cr: Trevor Luther. RBI — SA: Jake Petry 2, Shea Patterson 2, William VanSoelen 1, Miller 1; Cr: Luther 1, Nate Haley 1, Jon Birchard 1. Multiple hitters — SA: Patterson 2; Cr: Conner Pals 2.
St. Albert 2, Creston 1
R H E
St. Albert 002 0 — 2 6 2
Creston 000 1 — 1 4 1
SA: Tom Sneed 1K 0BB and Travis Miller. Cr: Cole Crawford 2K 1BB and Chase Shiltz. RBI — SA: Shea Patterson 2; Cr: Brandon Phipps 1. Multiple hitters — Cr: Pals 2.