It’s pretty rare when a game ends and both teams are furious. But it happened Tuesday night at San Marin High School in Novato, where the host Mustangs jousted with in the North Coast Section Division III championship baseball game until the sun went down.
At about 7:45 p.m., the umpires suspended play after 10 complete innings and the score deadlocked at 4-4. Both teams protested because they believed there was enough light to keep playing, but the umps followed NCS rules that state the top of a new inning can’t be started if it’s believed that the bottom half could not be completed.
Administrators from both schools met on the diamond after play was suspended and both teams stood in the outfield after expressing their dismay. Principals from both schools — Robert Vieth of San Marin and Aida Glimme of Acalanes — talked things over with the coaches and athletic directors to try and agree on when and where the game would continue, but there was no resolution.
“It’s finals week, and there are senior trips going on, so it’s more than just picking a time and date,” said San Marin athletic director Craig Pitti. “… We’re just looking for a good common time that works for both of us.”
Pitti said the game did not have to take place right away, according to a conversation with NCS officials. It was unclear whether the continued game would be played at San Marin.
San Marin’s seniors were scheduled to leave on the annual senior class trip to Disneyland on Wednesday morning, so continuing the game to Wednesday would have created huge problems for the Mustangs.
Acalanes is in its last week of school and students are taking finals now. The Dons’ seniors graduate on Friday.
San Marin Coach Mark Whitburn questioned why the NCS starts such championship games at 5 p.m., but the umpires later mentioned in the parking lot that there would have been plenty of light and time had it been a normal seven-inning game.
Acalanes had a great chance to take the lead in the 1oth with Scott Ericksen up with two on and two out. He stroked a single to right field, but the runner from second was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The Dons had a chance in the eighth as well, but San Marin right fielder Patrick Fairbanks made a diving catch in foul territory to strand two runners.
San Marin trailed 4-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh. The Mustangs got the bases loaded and catcher Mitchell Ho stroked a two-run double to left-center field to tie the game.
Acalanes took a 3-2 lead with a two-run rally in the fifth inning. Connor Hornsby smacked a two-out single to score Tom Nork, and Grant Deedee followed with a double into the left field corner to score Hornsby.
A.J. Welsh scored on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning for a 4-2 lead for Acalanes.
The Mustangs suffered some awful luck when they left the bases loaded in the fourth inning after going ahead 2-1. With two outs and the bags jammed, Chris Glennon hit a grounder to short and Mustang runner Chris Slack collided with the shortstop and getting called out for runner interference.
Earlier in that inning, Ho was on second base for San Marin when Dons pitcher Andrew Merkin fielded a comebacker hit by Slack. Merkin looked for the out at third base and flipped the ball there, but his third baseman wasn’t home; he’d charged in to try and field the comebacker. Merkin’s toss went to nobody and bounced into foul territory, allowing Ho to round third and score.
San Marin got its first run in the first inning when Chris Glennon singled and scored on an error. Acalanes tied it up on Zack Schoenrock’s double in the second that scored Spencer Henderson, who had led off the inning with a single.
Acalanes’ Paul Nork was injured during a collision with Glennon, San Marin’s second baseman, on a play where Glennon was hustling to cover first. Nork had hit the ball toward first base and was running down the line when Glennon crashed into him, sending both players to the turf.
Nork was very slow to get up and later was taken out of the dugout lay down near the football stadium bleachers. After being evaluated by medical personnel, Nork was taken out on a gurney by the Novato Fire District and sent to an area hospital. Early reports from his family were that he had suffered a ruptured spleen and would be hospitalized for two to three days.