The game that would not end has to ... right?
When it was over, or at least when everyone decided to take their soggy ball and go home, LSU’s Mason Katz reflected on the game that wasn’t quite.
“They would have been talking about this game forever,” Katz said. “They may still.”
Oh, they will talk, Mason. They most definitely will talk.
It wasn’t completed, but it was a classic. Take Game 1 of the Baton Rouge Super Regional, or what was played of it Friday, and give it its own shelf in the remarkable glittering trophy case of LSU baseball.
For drama, for surprises, for guts, for determination, for sheer inches of rain, it will be tough to top.
Either LSU or Stony Brook will pull its cleats out of the mud of the Alex Box Stadium and Yacht Club and fly away to the College World Series next week. But whatever outcome is in store for the Tigers and Seawolves, it won’t be like this.
Nothing could be like this.
Six fairly pedestrian innings gave way to five innings of scarcely believable “Can you top this?” adrenaline rushes that gave way to a flash flood.
There was no denouement, but there was a deluge. And now Saturday morning, there will apparently be a sudden-death playoff, with the winner a win away from ending the other team’s season later in the day (the return of monsoon season to Baton Rouge notwithstanding).
For a super regional that started with a game that wouldn’t end, there could be sudden, brick-wall-like finality. First, of course, the Tigers and Seawolves will have to stop this thrust and parry, this brinksmanship, this homage to Warren Morris’ homer for the ages, which was struck 16 years ago Friday.
Do we want them to? Sure. There has to be a winner. But it’ll be shame that there will be a loser after what these two teams gave us as they gave it to each other.
It was JaCoby Jones and Tyler Moore and Katz tying and re-tying the game with home runs in the ninth, 10th and 11th, and Raph Rhymes missing a game-winner by inches as his foul ball sailed wide of the left field pole. It was gutty pitching by long-retired starters Aaron Nola and Brandon McNitt, and the daredevil tumble into the stands by Stony Brook first baseman Kevin Courtney to chase down an Austin Nola foul ball. And it was Steven Goldstein, who homered in the top of the 10th, overrunning Moore’s foul pop in the left field bullpen.
There were heroes. And goats. Sometimes both.
“This is a credit to both teams and how badly they want this,” Stony Brook coach Matt Senk said, “how mentally tough both teams are and how gutsy they are.”
Someone must win. Who will it be? You have to believe LSU has the edge. Stony Brook is talented and determined, but the Seawolves went to bed Friday night knowing they had the Tigers down at match point three times only to let them fight back to deuce.
Someone will win. And they will talk. Or, who knows? This time Sunday, they may be playing still.