The game — which was stopped with the Tigers trailing 7-2 one pitch into the bottom of the seventh inning — got off to an ominous start when Manchester (0-0) still hadn't arrived at the field when the 5:30 p.m. contest was supposed to begin. A shortage of bus drivers in Meriwether County led to the team getting a late start to Temple, and the game got underway a little after 6 p.m.
Once the game did get started, Temple (2-1, 2-0 Region 5-AA) didn't make the most of its early opportunity and may have come out a little flat. Tiger coach Larry Weaver was the first to note it and to take responsibility.
"It's cold out here and that's a much-improved Manchester club, but I don't know how serious we came out ready to play. That's my fault. Any time you don't come out ready to play, it starts at the top and that's me. We battled. It was a 2-1 ball game there for a while. We had a couple situations we didn't capitalize on, but it's a learning experience. It's still early in the year and we'll just get better," Weaver said.
After Tyler Summerville made pretty quick work of the Blue Devils in the top of the first, the Tiger offense went to work. Summerville hit a one-out double, but Taylor Peebles was waved around third and tagged out at home. Kordell Parson brought Summerville home with an RBI single after Kameron Paine's single put runners on the corners, but no more damage was done.
The Blue Devils took advantage, scoring a pair of runs in the second and two more in the fifth to open up a 4-1 lead.
In the home half of the fifth, the Tigers would get one back when Peebles led off the inning with a single and scored on Paine's single. Temple would have the bases loaded with one out, but a pop out and ground out ended the inning without any more runs crossing the plate.
Manchester would pad its lead in the top of the seventh with three runs to make it 7-2. Then, just one foul ball into the bottom of the seventh, the lights along the third-base line went out. When it was determined the lights wouldn't come back on and the field was too dark for play, the decision was made to conclude the game on March 26.
"We've got to get better, obviously. We'll go down there and pick up where we left off," Weaver said.
Almost more difficult than not being able to finish the game and trailing by five runs in their last at-bat, the tougher loss to stomach for Temple was Summerville, who left the game after a collision when he was covering third base from his shortstop position in the top of the fifth inning. The senior started the game on the mound and gave up two runs in four innings with six strikeouts while also collecting a hit in two at-bats with a double and run scored.
"That's tough. We talked about how he's the heart and soul of this club — how he goes, we go. If he's unable to go, I feel that the seniors of this bunch will step up and guide this team, but that's a big blow. I don't want to speculate on any injury, but we'll find out [today] and go from there," Weaver said.
Now the Tigers will prepare for their 5:30 p.m. home game today against Our Lady of Mercy.
"Hopefully, the lights will cooperate [today] and we'll get to face an Our Lady bunch and just get after it," Weaver said. "Judging by the injury report I get, we might go from a not very deep ball club to less deep ball club. Some guys are going to have to step up."