With the bases loaded and only one out in the top of the sixth inning, the Peninsula Oilers had a golden opportunity to steal a victory Tuesday evening as rain threatened to put an early halt to their 1-1 contest with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots.
Following a base hit and stolen base by Peninsula right fielder Andy Dahl with one out in the inning, first baseman Dusty Bensko drew a walk from Pilots relief pitcher Andy Shipman. Shipman then committed a throwing error on catcher Ben Fritz's ground ball up the middle to load the bases.
With the showers threatening to halt play, the Oilers needed just a single run to break the tie and likely triumph in a rain-shortened affair. However, Shipman battled back to strike out third baseman Jimmy Bacon. When center fielder Joe Frazee flew out to right field, home plate umpire Doug McClure suspended play amid an increasing downpour.
Then the fun began.
While team officials and umpires conferred over how to resolve the game, players from both the Pilots and Oilers treated fans to an impromptu base running clinic -- sans uniforms. In a soggy scene reminiscent of the movie "Bull Durham," one unidentified, scantily clad player from each team did his best to slip and slide across the rain slicked tarp covering the infield.
It was unclear which player won the battle of base running, but the Pilots then let their feelings toward their Alaska Baseball League rivals be clearly known. Although the dark, overcast sky made play impossible, a full moon could clearly be seen rising above the steps of the third base dugout.
What hardy fans remained cheered their approval for both teams' impromptu performances. Moments later, the public address announcer announced the obvious fact that the game had been suspended.
The decision means the game will be completed -- beginning where play was suspended -- today as part of a doubleheader beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Kenai.
Although the game's outcome remained a wash, the few fans who witnessed Tuesday's spectacle seemed rather pleased with the sloppy display.
With a soaking wet souvenir foul ball firmly in hand, one young fan left the ballpark wearing an expression which was part cheer, part confusion.
"I've sure never seen a game like that," he said.
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