The hope was that one — or maybe even two — American Legion baseball games could be played before the poor weather took over Tuesday.
Despite the calendar reading July 9, the steady drizzle coming down simply said, “maybe another time.”
Corvallis and Dallas played 4.5 innings and 100 minutes in soggy conditions at Taylor Field before the umpires suspended the Area III contest in a 3-3 tie.
The rain created mud at the plate and in the rest of the infield. Dallas’ Noah Juarez, the final batter of the day, slipped and fell just a step or two out of the batter’s box while trying to run out a grounder.
The teams plan to play their regularly scheduled Wednesday doubleheader at Western Oregon in Monmouth and then find a day that will work to finish Tuesday’s twin bill.
Corvallis (17-10, 7-5) currently sits third in Area III behind Dallas and Salem, tied for the lead at 7-1.
The Marketmen had won seven straight games and 10 of 11 — including a four-game sweep of league foe Newport — before dropping Sunday’s championship game of their own Mickey Riley Star Spangled Tournament to Beaverton, 6-2. Corvallis averaged better than eight runs per game in that 11-game stretch.
That followed four straight losses to Salem in the last week of June by a combined score of 26-10.
“We’ve been playing well the two weeks there after the Withnell (Salem) series,” Corvallis coach Evan Hilberg said. “We really started picking it up and just playing good baseball around the diamond. Our guys have been swinging it all year. Our pitching and defense will dictate how well we continue to do.”
The Marketmen finish out their league schedule against Dallas. The Area III winner gets an automatic berth into the state tournament, July 27-31 in Klamath Falls.
The second, third and fourth teams will compete in best-of-three super regionals against other teams in the state, with the winners advancing to the tournament. Area III’s second- and third-place teams will each host a super regional, while the fourth team will travel.
Corvallis needs just one win against Dallas to guarantee at least third place and being home for a super regional. Keizer is currently in fourth in Area III at 3-9.
“That’s super important. Trying to keep ourselves in contention for hosting would be awesome,” Hilberg said.
Tuesday’s pitching matchup included a pair of rising second-year college players in Corvallis’ Ryan Hall, a Santiam Christian grad now at Corban, and the Dirtbags’ Jaret Stewart, a Dallas High alum now at Western Oregon.
Both right-handers were their respective teams’ only pitchers Tuesday.
Dallas scored first with two runs in the second.
The Dirtbags had two on via walks with two outs when Braden Allison lined a RBI single to center. Hall then put himself in position to get out of the inning after drawing a grounder, but the ball got through shortstop Caleb Beach, allowing another run to come across.
Corvallis got one back in the bottom half when Beach was hit by a bases-loaded pitch. But the Marketmen left the bases full.
Stewart retired Corvallis in order in the third before running into trouble again in the fourth, some by his own making and some not.
A throwing error from third base allowed Connor Spevacek to reach safely on his leadoff grounder. A pair of strikeouts sandwiching a walk to Michael Slater gave the Marketmen two baserunners.
Beach then lined a Stewart pitch to the right field corner that scored both and put the home team in front.
Dallas pulled back even in the top of the fifth.
The Dirtbags loaded the bases against Hall with two infield singles and a walk before a run scored on a wild pitch that got away from catcher Brooks Stearns.
Juarez then grounded out to finish the day.
Corvallis had two hits off Stewart, on Beach’s triple and Logan Krummel’s bunt single to load the bases in the second. Dallas had four hits in all, two from Ruben Cedillo.