The scene was set. Both Lancaster Catholic and Pequea Valley were ready to take the field. Parents, friends and fans were gearing up for a meaningful Section Four matchup on a beautiful spring day. As lineups were exchanged, players were about to take the field until a pretty serious question arose…
Where are the umpires?
Scheduled to start at 4:15, the umpires were nowhere to be found at game time. The widely assumed explanation for this was that the game was originally supposed to take place on Friday but was moved to Thursday because of Pequea Valley’s prom.
Apparently no one told the umpires.
Ultimately, the game got underway around 5:00pm and Lancaster prevailed, 5-3.
But the 45-minute umpire-less gap offered a chance to see how the teams would attempt to keep loose while maintaining their focus on the game. Crusaders coach Chris Kiehl figured the best way to handle the situation was the “hands off approach”.
“I didn’t need to say anything because they know,” Kiehl said. “You keep
talking to them and talking to them and it falls on deaf ears after a while.”
Pequea Valley coach Ryan O’Donnell shared Kiehl’s relaxed attitude towards the situation.
“I guess at this level, you expect things like this to happen,” he said. “You just have to do your best to stay loose. I don’t think it was a big deal at all.”
Kiehl did admit that the delay did have some level of effect.
“That little delay kind of kept our energy low until the first pitch,” he said.
That notion can be backed up by the fact that neither team scored a run until the fourth inning. Once the Crusaders started rolling however, it was if a sleeping giant awoke.
The Crusaders, now 10-2 in league play and currently in possession of first place, exploded for five runs in the fourth inning that started with a leadoff triple by senior captain shortstop Bryan Haberstroh.
“He’s one of our captains, one of our best players, MVP of our league last year and he’s an all-state shortstop. I have a lot of faith in our guys,” Kiehl said of Haberstroh.
He later referred to Haberstroh and the team’s “spark plug”.
I think it’s safe to say that the victory was well worth the wait for the Crusaders.