XENIA — A lot of Speedy Dry was poured on the Xenia High School baseball diamond, and the Beavercreek and Centerville coaches and staffers from Xenia High worked hard to groom the dirt into a playable condition, but wetter heads prevailed.
Thursday’s May 17 Division I sectional final baseball game between No. 4 seed Centerville and No. 2 seed Beavercreek was ultimately ruled a rainout after the umpires and tournament official Dave Wedderburn decided the field was too slick for the players to safely use.
The two Greater Western Ohio Conference teams failed to score in the first inning. Centerville had one out and Drew Smith at the plate when heavy rain began to fall on the Xenia High School baseball diamond at around 5:24 p.m.
The umpires sent both teams to the dugouts and, when the rain appeared to be letting up, coaches from both teams pitched in to pour the 30-40 pound bags of absorbent material onto the baseball infield, in hopes of drying up the water that had begun to pool onto the playing surface.
Beavercreek starting pitcher Brandon DeWitt said he couldn’t keep his front plant foot from sliding down the pitcher’s mound after he would release the ball. In the Beavers dugout, he told a teammate that he threw probably the best knuckleball he’d ever thrown … but it was supposed to be a curve.
Kudos to Centerville coaches Jason Whited, Jim Oberer, Denton Sagerman and Doug Walls; and Beavercreek coaches Brandon Long, Ian Baltzer and Justin Nidiffer; along with Xenia baseball coach Barry Claus and XHS Athletic Director Nathan Kopp for pitching in and at least trying to defeat Mother Nature’s soggy wrath on the ballfield. In a concerted effort, the men did their best to try dry the field, but to no avail.
While the coaches’ Speedy Dry effort was under way, district tournament manager Dave Wedderburn was busy contacting artificial turf venues in the area, specifically Wright State University’s Nischwitz Stadium and the Athletes In Action Sports Complex’s Grady’s Field, but both ballfields were already backed up with rescheduled games yet to be played. Nischwitz was being used by other high schools, and Grady’s Field was hosting a youth baseball tournament, Wedderburn said.
At about 6:30 p.m., more than an hour since the coaches had poured at least a dozen bags of the Speedy Dry material on the infield, the umpires decided that the field surface was just too slippery to be safely used.
The Southwest District Athletic Board website announced at roughly 8 p.m. that the Centerville-Beavercreek contest will hopefully resume on Friday, May 18 at Xenia High School, with the score tied at 0-0 in the top of the second inning. The winner will advance to take on Loveland at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 19 at Hamilton High School in the district tournament opening round.
During the regular season, Beavercreek (20-4) won the GWOC’s National East division crown with a 9-3 division record. Centerville (16-10), finished second in the division at 8-4.
The two foes split their home-and-home series against each other, with both teams winning on the road.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.