Extra day no help for Mikes, Lawless
It now appears that even though the WPIAL pushed back all of Wednesday's baseball and softball playoff action until today, Carmichaels ace Brandon Lawless still won't have a chance to finish his duel with California's Josh Luko.
With the continuation of the California-Carmichaels game moved from 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to 3:30 p.m. today, Lawless still won't have the required 48 hours of rest he needs to take the mound. The Carmichaels star pitched into the fourth inning Tuesday night.
When play resumes, the score is tied 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning, but the Trojans (19-0) have runners on first and second with one out.
California coach Nick Damico has already said he will be sending his unbeaten ace, the 9-0 Luko, back to the mound when play resumes.
Luko does not require any rest because he only pitched three innings.
WPIAL rules state that any pitcher who throws three innings or fewer can pitch again without rest. If a pitcher throws four or five innings, he must have two calendar days' rest, and if he goes six or more innings in one day, he must have three calendar days' rest.
WPIAL Executive Director Tim O'Malley says he can understand Carmichaels' camp being upset that it can not use its ace in the completion of the championship game, but he said there is nothing that can be done.
“I understand how they feel,” O'Malley said. “However, I would understand more if it were raining going into the fourth inning and the game was stopped like it was. This was lightning. You can't predict lightning.
“As for the rules on pitching, they are very clear.”
The game umpires stopped play in the top of the fourth inning because of lightning in the area. That mandates an automatic 30-minute delay until play resumes. More lightning flashed and then heavy rains came that wiped out any plans of restarting the game.
“We originally wanted to finish Wednesday, but Wednesday's forecast was worse than Tuesday's, and Thursday's is a little better,” O'Malley said.
California coach Nick Damico fully sympathizes with Carmichaels' plight, saying, “I don't know if we are going to win, but I want to play them straight up with their best. That's what I want and I think it's a shame (Lawless) can't pitch.”
Damico said his team is eager to get back on the field to continue its quest for a title.
“We're trying to keep them calm and relaxed, telling them it's out of our hands and it will happen when it happens,” he said.
Damico added that poor weather today will cause a new wrinkle.
“Friday is our graduation and I have eight seniors,” he said. “And the state playoffs are supposed to start Monday. If we don't play (today), I don't know what will happen.”
After the California-Carmichaels title game, the Class AAA and AAAA championship games will be played.
EF at West Mifflin today
Also pushed back to today is Elizabeth Forward's softball team. The Lady Warriors (14-7) will play in the Class AAA consolation game against Greensburg Salem (15-2).
The game will be played at 2 p.m. today at West Mifflin with the winner getting a berth into the PIAA playoffs.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.