LEADWOOD – Eric O’Brien was summoned from center field for the unenviable task of protecting a fragile one-run lead with the bases loaded and no outs.
Just as the new Grandview pitcher was wrapping up his warm-up tosses on Wednesday afternoon, the flash of distant lightning halted the proceedings.
West County never had the chance to complete its comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the visiting Eagles escaped with an official 3-2 victory.
The final score reverted to where it stood following the last completed inning. Each club tallied twice in a seventh frame that ultimately did not count.
The Bulldogs may have been one or two batters away from seizing victory and overcoming a number of mistakes during a contest that endured intermittent spells of rain.
But dangerous weather approached and time ran out before J.D. Whitter could step toward the plate for the first time after previously pinch-running.
Trenton Cookerly pitched five-plus innings for the win, allowing two runs on six hits. Solid early location helped him strike out six of his first seven batters and eight overall.
Levi LaLonde allowed four walks in the erased seventh, included bases-loaded passes to Mason Simily and Kamden Walter, but wound up collecting the save.
LaLonde inherited two runners in the sixth, and a sacrifice bunt by Michael Simily put both Walter and Whitter in scoring position with one out.
But Jase Campbell was called out on a borderline third strike, and Grandview (3-1) emerged with its 3-2 lead intact as Carter Reed flied to center.
The Eagles tentatively increased that margin when LaLonde singled and scored on a wild pitch after Trey Wright slipped on the wet grass trying to catch a double to center by Chase Wilson.
Cookerly finished 2-for-4, and Clayton Riddle reached base three times for Grandview, which was shut out by West County starter Tycen Price until the fourth inning.
The Bulldogs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third after Dawson Dowd singled and Wright drew a walk with one out against Cookerly.
Grady Masters grounded an RBI single through the right side, and Wright also raced home on the play when Masters drew a throw and was tagged out stretching for second base.
Price fanned four batters over his first two frames, but struggled with control as mound conditions continued to deteriorate in the fourth.
Austin Gallaway singled and Riddle reached on a booted ground ball with one out ahead of successive four-pitch walks. Another bases-loaded walk forced in the tying run.
Cookerly broke the 2-2 score with an RBI single off Caden Merrill, who then retired eight of the next nine batters and struck out six in his first pitching effort since returning from a broken wrist.
Gallaway caught two runners stealing from behind the plate to diminish West County (4-3) scoring threats in the fourth and fifth innings after the leadoff batter reached safely.
Masters paced the Bulldogs at 2-for-3 overall. Mason Simily had a hustling double to right-center, and Jase Campbell provided a single with two stolen bases. Dowd was on base three straight times.