SOFTBALL: Storm halts game

BERLIN CENTER – The end result of the Division IV sectional final softball game between Wellsville and Western Reserve will have to wait.

With the threat of severe thunderstorms forecast throughout the day as well as a tornado watch looming, the 11th-seeded Tigers and top-seeded Blue Devils attempted to get their contest going, but once lightning was spotted in the bottom of the first inning, both teams took for cover, and the game was called off with no score from either side.

“I’m disappointed,” Wellsville coach Joe Soldano said. “We were looking forward to go up against a top-seeded team like Western Reserve and then this happens and it’s just disappointing.”

The teams will try to finish the game at 5 p.m. today depending if it stays dry.

The disappointment of the Tigers (8-13) in the rain-out comes a day after knocking Youngstown Christian out of the tournament Tuesday with a 16-1 five-inning victory, the Tigers’ first win in a tournament game in many years.

“We came in to this game after beating Youngstown Christian, and were just excited to make it here,” Soldano said. “I can’t quite remember the last time we were able to advance in the tournament. I know it has been a long time since we’ve been this far.”

The game was already behind schedule as transportation issues forced the Tigers to arrive just 10 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, but the game finally got underway at 5:20 p.m. as Maddie Kreitzburg struck out one and walked one for the Blue Devils (16-2) and Toni Lombardozzi hit a single for the Tigers.

Then, around 5:37 p.m. lightning was spotted in the southeast, forcing everyone to take cover. Both teams and umpires went inside the high school where Soldano, Western Reserve coach Joe Serensky and Reserve athletic director Jeff Martig monitored the storm pattern.

Once another storm cell was spotted over Canton heading northeast towards town, the coaches and umpires made the decision to hold off the game and wait for today.

“We’re going to try again (today),” Martig said. “If for some reason the weather doesn’t cooperate with us then, we will have it at 1 p.m. Saturday.”

The game will resume in the bottom of the first with no outs and a runner on second for Western Reserve. The winner will face third-seeded Columbiana, who knocked off Sebring 5-2, in the district semifinal Tuesday at Dickey Athletic Complex in Lisbon.