TOIVOLA It's still early in the Twilight League season and Mosquito Inn-Toivola remains undefeated on the diamond for now.
Last Thursday's home date with BlueSky Health was not played and is listed as a forfeit on the league website. This Thursday's home date with Wolverine-Orbit was played but is not quite over.
Wolverine led 8-4 after 5 1/2 innings on a miserable night on the Misery Bay Road, but the game was suspended due to the conditions.
Mosquito Inn-Toivola pitcher Justin Kirby delivers in the second inning of their game against Wolverine-Orbit Thursday night in Toivola. The game was suspended in the sixth inning due to unplayable conditions.
"It was tough playing. The infielders were playing in, nobody was hitting any balls anywhere near deep tonight," Toivola manager Rexx Janowiak said.
League rules stipulate that all regular season games must be played to completion. Because the teams did complete five innings, they can resume from that point during their next league meeting July 1 in Kearsarge.
Despite 50-degree temperatures, a 25-mile per hour wind blowing in from the outfield and spitting rain, the field remained fairly playable, but keeping a dry ball became too much to do.
Wolverine took the lead for the first time with three runs in the top of the third, adding two in the fourth and three in the sixth. Capitalizing on Toivola errors has been a major factor.
"What we tried to do is we tried to force the issue and make some outstanding plays when there were average plays to be made where we could pick up outs and that led to us throwing the ball around and it gave them two or three runs," Janowiak said.
Beau Dupuis' one-out triple started the outburst, followed by an RBI single from Chris Saari. Joe Richard hit a dribbler in front of the plate, but Toivola tried to turn the double play and it went awry. A fielding error on the next play led to the third run.
Mike Saari singled to lead off the fourth and came around on Joe Richard's single. Runners advanced one base on the throw, then one more when the throw went into the outfield, scoring Dupuis, who had walked earlier in the inning.
Back-to-back one-out hits followed by an error helped Toivola pull one run back before Andy Buchanan's RBI single made it 5-3. The hosts got even closer in the fifth, as Janowiak walked and both Jason Coffey and Justin Kirby singled to bring home Janowiak, but the rally short-circuited when Wolverine turned a rare 5-2-3 double play to end the inning.
Wolverine tacked on three more runs in the top of the sixth before play was suspended after Mike Saari doubled, Dupuis walked, both came around to score on a throwing error after a Chris Saari infield hit and Saari later scored on a wild pitch.
Even if Toivola isn't able to pull this game out of the loss column in July, some new players and strong pitching have helped establish a 2-0 start with wins over Stanton and Pat's Foods in the first two games.
"We've got some new faces, we've got some new ballplayers that are really positive additions to the team. The biggest thing that we're doing well is that we're getting excellent pitching from our starters. Justin Kirby pitched well tonight, if we didn't throw the ball around, he only gave up a couple runs. It's really our pitching that's done it so far, now our hitting has to follow suit."
Kirby pitched all six innings, allowing six hits. He struck out nine, hit a batter and walked four.
Zach Hill remains in line for the win should Wolverine hold on. Hill allowed seven hits, struck out three and walked five.