Sun glare stops La Salle-Bonner game

Posted: April 20, 2012

RONNIE SCULL now has two stories to tell for a lifetime.

Though right now he suspects No. 1 will remain most prominent in his memory bank, something tells us No. 2 will eventually win out.

You be the judge . . .

While Scull, a senior righthander, was throwing a pitch for Monsignor Bonner High in the seventh inning of a Catholic Red game vs. visiting La Salle, his elastic belt snapped in half and he had to switch to another.

OK, not bad.

Four innings later, the game was suspended because of the sun.

Awesome!!

Before blaming Mother Nature, direct a few boos to the architect. Home plate is located in the northeast corner of Bonner's property and that means the sun is always a hint of an issue. It became much more as La Salle came to bat to start the 11th.

Even before a pitch was thrown, catcher Dan Furman mentioned to plate ump Bruce Martin that things were getting dicey. After Mike Piscopo sent a looping single to center, Colin Pyne stepped in with designs on sacrificing Piscopo to second.

Indeed, he bunted the first pitch . . . In self-defense. The ball was pretty much a rumor.

Martin halted play at 6:17 and the original plan, made 6 minutes later, was to resume in another 10 to 15 minutes, if the sun's angle would cooperate. No such luck. After a delay that lasted until 6:54, the game was suspended - Bonner coach Joe DeBarberie made the suggestion; La Salle boss Joe Parisi agreed - and the guys decided to finish it Friday at 2 o'clock.

During the wait, some of Bonner's kids played pepper. Some of La Salle's stood in a circle and tested reflexes by slapping/flipping the ball at each other in rapid fashion. Assorted songs played over the sound system. Every so often, players/coaches/umps would stand at the plate and squint toward center.

The last guy to leave the field was DeBarberie. By 7:09, he was raking the mound area and the infield was completely covered in shade, thanks to Bonner's building.

DeBarberie explained his ultimate thought process by saying, "Let's say La Salle gets four runs. Then we have to come in and try to bat in the dark? Maybe it gets suspended because of darkness and we're coming back to finish it anyway. This way made more sense."

Said Parisi: "The safety of the kids is paramount. There's a liability issue. Some of the kids understand that. Some don't. We'll explain it to them."

Scull, a physical stud who also played football (he'll opt for baseball at West Chester), pitched the first nine innings, the most allowed by PIAA rules. He allowed six hits and both runs (unearned) while uncorking 117 pitches. He then moved to first base.

Scull mentioned that Bonner usually practices from 5 to 7:15 and that guys often take BP with the sun as part of the background.

Of course, BP does not a game equal.

"You just pull down your helmet and go like this," he said, tilting his head downward.

DeBarberie confirmed Scull's statement while adding that sometimes BP is halted and the Friars move on to other endeavors.

"We really haven't had much of a sun issue this season," he said. "Mostly because of cloudy days, I guess."

When Scull was asked whether the suspension disappointed him, he noted with a smile, "I have mixed feelings, really. Some of our fans left. That was weak. And then, when they started playing the country music, I lost my train of thought . . . Might as well go home, then."

La Salle scored single runs in the third and fourth on RBI singles by Chris Melillo and Dom Cuoci, respectively. Cuoci, a soph righty, pitched the first seven frames and came within one out of a 2-1 victory. With Joe Haley (single) on second, pinch-hitter Vince Tomasetti, a lefty swinger whose hero must be Matt Stairs, smacked a first-pitch fastball right through the box for an RBI single. The ball tipped Cuoci's glove ever so slightly. Frank Saviski had plated a first-inning run with a sacrifice fly.

Lefty John Scheffey, another soph, worked the eighth through 10th for La Salle. He allowed one hit. Cuoci had permitted six while fanning seven.

The best nonhit was Melillo's drive to deep left in the 10th. There's no fence out there (the field blends into the one used for softball by Archbishop Prendergast) and Paul-Mike Rementer was likely at 350 feet, minimum, when he made the catch.

Said La Salle sub Tom Cockill, "At our field, that would have been out on Route 309."

When Melillo stationed himself at first base for the home 10th, the base ump said, "It looked like somebody was going to be running around the bases."

"Even with my speed," Melillo quipped.

Soon, Parisi, La Salle's coach for a quarter century, was trying to put the day's developments into context.

"Definitely unique," he said. "We've had suspensions due to rain, but even with those I can't remember any that happened in extra innings. Now we have a suspension because of the sun?"

Maybe this qualifies as Parisi's most memorable baseball experience?

"It's certainly up there," he said.

Alas, so was the sun.


Online high school coverage at philly.com/rally.

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