Massapequa Coast Little League came to play Sunday afternoon but Mother Nature had other plans.
Their bid to stay alive in the Little League World Series after losing 12-0 against Honolulu on Friday, was rescheduled for Monday at 11 a.m. after heavy downpours descended on South Williamsport, Pa.
“The mood was great [this morning],” said manager Roland Clark, whose 0-1 squad was set to face the 12-year-olds from Hollidaysburg, Pa., who defeated Middleboro, Mass., 7-5, on Saturday night.
“The mood was one of excitement. The boys, after the game last night came in happy. They had a good time watching the game. They had a good time seeing some friends from New York that made the ride up yesterday to come see the game today.”
But enthusiasm quickly shifted to frustration and disappointment as two weather delays led to a series of logistical issues that kept them off the field and away from their scheduled meet and greet with the Orioles and Red Sox in town to play in the Little League Classic.
First, the 11 a.m. game between Utah and Iowa was stopped at 12:35 for 30 minutes because of nearby lightning. Then the game resumed but was stopped around 2 p.m. as the skies grew murky and gave way to heavy rain.
Despite a later break in the weather and the sun peeking through, Little League made the decision to postpone Massapequa’s matchup to ensure all players can attend tonight’s MLB Little League Classic being played at Bowman Field.
“We’re getting ready to go to a Major League game instead of the kids playing,” Clark said. “You’re dealing with 12-year-old boys and they are seeing a break in the rain. A lot of them had the attitude that they’d rather be playing than go to see a Major League game, not that it will take away from the significance. They want to play. They want to be out there.”
To add insult to injury, the New Yorkers missed their window of opportunity to pal around with the big leaguers from Boston and Baltimore.
“We started to walk down [from the dorms] and they sent us back to the dorms because of the lightning delays.
The game resumed at around 1:05, but they were still being held in the dorms as the pros signed autographs in Lamade Stadium.
“As the kids are watching the game on TV, they are seeing the Major League baseball players sliding down the hill and signing autographs, these boys became even more frustrated and restless.”
But Clark is trying to put a positive spin on the day, reframe the experience and pump up his squad for tomorrow’s do-or-die game.
“I think we go tonight, we have a good time and we try to get some autographs. We make the best of it.”
Massapequa is also planning to stick to their previous lineup.
Joey Lionetti, who pitched a no-hitter against Toms River in the regional finals and threw two innings on Friday, will start on the mound against the Mid-Atlantic champs.
Clark doesn’t see the washout as much of a boost to his team, who has only played one game in the nine days they’ve been in Williamsport.
“I don’t think it’s advantageous for either team, maybe Pennsylvania a little more because they played last night,” said Clark, calling them a “good team.”
The Massapequa team is eager to shake off the cobwebs and get another shot at glory.
“The boys are just anxious to get out on the field. They want that first hit,” Clark said. “They want to get a few runs and make something of a run instead of what happened other night [against Honolulu] with us.”