NEW PARIS - It's been said that lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place.
But it did just that, and more, Thursday afternoon during the District 5-AA baseball championship game between Bedford and Everett on the Chestnut Ridge High School baseball field, and caused the suspension of the game after three innings with the score tied, 1-1.
It will be resumed Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at Chestnut Ridge, with Bedford batting in the top of the fourth inning.
Thursday's game started under sunny skies, but they darkened quickly, and lightning forced a 50-minute delay with Everett batting in the bottom of the third inning. Play eventually resumed, and the third inning was completed before another lightning citing forced another stoppage and the eventual suspension at 6:20 p.m.
"Technically, you're supposed to wait 30 minutes after lightning strikes before resuming play,'' said District 5 chairman George Knisely, who made the decision along with the umpiring crew and the two athletic directors of each school. "We were afraid that even if we were able to start again, we wouldn't get seven innings in before it got dark.''
Both coaches were OK with the decision.
"The way this spring's been going, this is par for the course,'' Bedford coach Scott Waugerman said. "I'm glad they're doing this, though, because it would be awfully tough on the two starting pitchers to try to resume again after another delay.''
Third-seeded Bedford (7-8) started senior right-hander Brian Gibbons, who struck out four batters and allowed just two hits - including a third-inning RBI single by Jake Stover. Top-seeded Everett (13-6) started sophomore lefty Kyle Droz, who struck out three and allowed three hits, including Tyler Black's solo homer in the second inning.
"You don't want to see a championship game get broken up like this, but both teams have to make the necessary adjustments and come back next Wednesday,'' Everett coach Mike Kline said. "There's nothing we can do about it.''
Everett athletic director Brian Koontz pointed out that the PIAA state baseball playoffs don't start until Monday, June 6.
"We have time built into the schedule,'' he said. "As long as it doesn't rain next week, we'll be fine.''