PHILADELPHIA >> In the midst of a two-hour Wednesday at FDR Park, the Delaware County West Carpenter Cup team entertained itself with a game of hacky sack.
Unfortunately, the fun physical exercise was the biggest thrill the players had all day.
Due to unsafe field conditions, Delco West’s game with Lehigh Valley was suspended in the second inning. The teams will try again Thursday at 9 a.m.
“I feel like someone is going to get hurt. It’s just an injury waiting to happen,” Upper Darby All-Delco Lexie Witmer said. “You try to get games in and hope for the best, but you can’t really play in this.
“I feel bad for (Lehigh). We got here at 4 o’clock and they’ve been here all day.”
Lehigh, which was coming out of the losers bracket, was playing its third game of the day. It’s first contest was a 2-1 victory over the Catholic League, followed by a 15-0 drubbing of Suburban One League/Bicentennial League.
“They’ve been here all day and it (stinks) for them to have to go home, especially all the way to Lehigh Valley,” Witmer said.
Perhaps the long commute up the Blue Route, coupled with early morning wake-up call, will prove beneficial for Delco West. After all, Lehigh Valley batted around in the top of the first, scoring four runs thanks in part to shoddy Delco West defense. And, early on, it was evident that Lehigh Valley had its hitting shoes on and that Delco West was in for a long night.
Following the delay, the completion of the Delaware North-Delaware South game was moved to the field on which Delco and Lehigh were competing. The all-Delaware contest wrapped up in a tidy eight minutes.
While Delco West and Lehigh warmed up in anticipation of their game’s resumption, coaches from both teams met with Carpenter Cup officials to examine the outfield grass. The slick surface was an understandable concern for Delco coaches Pat Rafferty, Christina Tomczuk and Mike Snow.
“I was just a little uncomfortable with it,” Rafferty said. “This is a big year this summer for the girls to get recruited … and gosh forbid something happens over this. There aren’t even college coaches watching right now. So, that was my thought process. I know not everybody is happy with it. Does it stink having to come back early tomorrow? Sure, but had we won we would be coming back anyway.
“I think it’s the right call. Everybody is safe, so that’s the most important thing.”
Rafferty decided against playing. The Lehigh Valley coaches insisted otherwise, so the final decision was left in the showrunners’ hands. The Phillies staff agreed with Rafferty to suspend action until Thursday.
“The kids aren’t happy that they have to get up at 7 a.m. tomorrow, but that’s OK. They have all summer,” Rafferty said.
Interboro’s Bridget Bailey had been warming up for 10 minutes with her catcher, Witmer, when it was determined the game would not continue.
“I really thought we were going to play,” Bailey said. “I warmed up and I was all ready to go. I really wanted to go stand on the mound to see how it was, but nope, it’s cancelled. Oh well, (we will) come back tomorrow.”
So it’s on to Thursday, the official final day of the double-elimination Carpenter Cup Classic, which is in its 13th year. Only two Delco squads have ever made it to the last day.
“The home plate, if someone were to slide they might get hurt, so it’s probably good not to play now,” Bailey said. “Or rounding first or third base. We have a couple of fast players on our team, so I know if they were to round first they would probably wipe out.”
Delco reached this stage in the tournament with a blowout victory over Olympic Colonial, followed by a come-from-behind, extra-innings win against Chester County Tuesday. Delco lost its third and final game (4-0 Tri-Cape) Tuesday.
Delco is facing long odds Thursday. Delco must win five games in back-to-back fashion in order to be crowned Carpenter Cup champions for the first time in franchise history. Berks County/Lancaster Lebanon, the lone unbeaten remaining in the tournament, awaits its finals opponent.
Delco East bowed with a 7-1 setback to Delaware South. Penncrest’s Emma Stauffer doubled, while her Lions teammate, Julia Eckels, singled and scored a run. Delco pitching allowed 13 hits.
Meanwhile, the Catholic League hung tough with Lehigh Valley in the morning, but suffered a 2-1 defeat. Lehigh scored two runs in the first inning and never looked back. The Catholics got on the board when Bonner & Prendergast’s Allison Martin homered in the bottom of the seventh inning. Martin’s sister, Kaitlyn, and Prendie teammate Meghan Sullivan each singled.
Sullivan pitched three scoreless innings of two-hit ball. Hallahan’s Maddie McBride, a Sharon Hill resident, twirled two flawless innings of relief with three strikeouts.