“Who’ll stop the rain”
That’s the title of the famous 1970 song by Creedence Clearwater Revival. That title seems to fit the Delta State University Statesmen and the other six teams involved in the NCAA Division II South Region Baseball Tournament in Lakeland, Fla. as they are having to play the waiting game as heavy rains have put the tournament in a standstill.
There have only been four games completed thus far in the region tournament. DSU started its game with Mississippi College Thursday and had to conclude it on Friday as DSU won the contest 13-3. It put DSU in a winner’s bracket contest against Tampa. The winner’s bracket game was originally scheduled to be played Friday but was pushed back to Saturday and now the Statesmen are currently playing the waiting game seeing if they can get it in today or not. The winner of the South Region Tournament will advance to the NCAA Division II World Series in Cary, N.C. starting Saturday. In other action earlier in the tournament, Tampa beat Albany State 12-2, Nova Southeastern beat Montevallo 12-7 and Florida Southern beat Nova Southeastern 5-1.
“There’s not a lot of solutions right now,” Delta State head baseball coach Mike Kinnison said by phone earlier today. “The rain continues here. I think what we are hoping is the NCAA will extend this tournament as long as necessary perhaps through even Tuesday and Wednesday. I don’t know the answer to that but it seems like that might be what’s necessary to find some break in this weather pattern and be able to get the games played.
“It’s a quick turnaround with the World Series beginning next weekend. You’re kind of backed up against some deadlines on the other end of this tournament. We’re still optimistic that even though it’s obviously not going to be finished on Monday, tomorrow that the NCAA will extend this through Tuesday and Wednesday at least and give it a chance to be settled on the field rather than by some other means. I don’t know anything officially other than that. We're just waiting day by day and sometimes even hour by hour to see what the weather is going to do and what it will allow us to do.”
To get the tournament moving along, the loser’s bracket game between Mississippi College and Albany State was moved from Henley Feld to Tiger Town. MC was leading Albany State 4-2 in the top of the fifth inning before the rains came and postponed that game.
Kinnison said everyone is in a holding pattern waiting to where it's not raining to get some games in but he added that the weather hasn’t let up.
“Right now, the rain continues,” Kinnison said. “The way this thing is everything in this area is covered up with rain and alternate fields have not worked out either.”
Kinnison said the weather delays have been a challenge for the players to handle.
“We go to the park and get ready to play and lightning and rain causes a delay and then more rain and we don’t get to play,” Kinnison said. “It’s something we have to deal with. It’s not the easiest thing in the world. That takes some competitive edge away from players. I would say we’re all anxious to play. We’ve sat around enough and we’re anxious for this weather to break so we can get on the field.”
Kinnison added the biggest thing everyone wants is to be able to settle the tournament on the field.
“There’s a lot of options on the table where this thing is maybe settled off the field and we don’t want to do that,” Kinnison said. “I think everyone wants some option that allows it to be settled on the field. I think there have been some regionals before that they had to reduce down to single elimination type tournaments but I know that’s not the initial objective. They want to have a true champion and play the full bracket if they can.”