A dark cloud loomed toward Liberty Park Thursday in Sedalia as the Post 462 Travelers mounted a comeback in the seventh inning against the Odessa Bulldogs.
Odessa’s lead was down to one run, 6-5, when Tate Bittiker induced a pop fly from Derek Bivens to end the inning. The Travelers notched two runs, but would score no more.
Having already discussed with the Sedalia dugout incoming weather during the seventh inning, home plate umpire Todd Rusk suspended play.
Moments later, the members of Sedalia Post 642 scrambled like an alarm went off. Players maneuvered a tarp to the mound, others ran over with weights and Steven Bradbury parked his motorbike inside the Liberty Stadium grounds crew shed.
Travelers head coach Jeff Mays said his team has the rain delay procedure down pat, and the turf on Dey Field has made the process easier.
“Most of them have been doing it since they were young,” Mays said. “They know the drill. We used to have the big tarp, and they don’t mind putting the little ones on so bad now. Yeah, they know what to do.”
Thursday’s game, scheduled for nine innings, was called during the delay.
Trouble came in pairs for the Travelers before the rain came. Sedalia allowed two runs apiece in the first, third and fourth innnings. Connor Spunaugle started for Sedalia, lasting 2 1/3 innings before Gehrig Taylor relived him.
The Bulldogs scored on an error, walk and two hits in the first inning. Spunaugle struck out two batters to escape the first with bases loaded.
Taylor pulled off an identical act in the fifth inning. After issuing a walk, Taylor struck out Will Fox and Jonas Bennett to strand three and keep the score 4-2, Odessa.
Taylor said he got more outs on the outside part of the plate after the first inning of his outing.
“The first inning was a little rough, on my part,” Taylor said. “After that, I kind of settled in.”
Taylor allowed two more runs on four hits in the fourth inning.
Sedalia’s offense entered the seventh inning with three hits. Two Odessa errors, a single and two sacrifice flies from Christian Jones and Chase Plymell scored Baxter Mays and Bradbury, respectively.
During the delay and before the game’s cancellation, Sedalia coach Tanner McKee said the Odessa’s pitchers Thursday — Bittiker and starter Dalen Rickey — kept the Travelers off balance at the plate.
“Out hitters have hit some balls hard,” McKee said. “We haven’t been able to piece it together … Just kind of one of things where, right now, you have to tip your cap to them. They’re out-playing us, they’re finding the holes and we’re just not right now.”
Post 462 Sedalia is scheduled to host the Lee’s Summit Outlaws on Saturday at noon and Post 21 Independence at 1 p.m. Sunday.