Posted: 2:37 pm Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Baseball: 9-6A rivals Park Vista, Atlantic play ’til the lights go out 

By Matt Porter

Park Vista coach Larry Greenstein was still shaking his head early Saturday afternoon as he drove to West Boynton Park, the scene of one of the more memorable games of the 2011 baseball season.

“Man, what a game,” Greenstein said.

Friday night, District 9-6A rivals Park Vista and Atlantic went until the lights shut off. With the game tied at 3 in the top of the 14th inning, Atlantic was at bat, the clock struck 11 p.m. and the place went dark.

The lights in the public park were on a timer, set for 11 p.m. since most 7 o’clock baseball games end well before 10. Saturday, Greenstein had to return to the park to make sure the Cobras didn’t leave anything behind.

“When it went out, we couldn’t see anything,” Greenstein said. “We tried to pack up everything as best we could. We were scrambling. We were using cell phone lights to see.”

He and Atlantic coach Steve Wilson will sort out a time and place to finish the district dogfight, which could have a bearing on 9-6A tournament seedings. Park Vista entered the game 6-2, 1-2 in the district, while Atlantic was 3-4, 1-1.

“It was intense. It had every play in the book,” Greenstein said of the game. “Great pitching, two guys thrown out at home on bang-bang plays, some great plays all around. So many opportunities from both teams. Just great baseball, 14 innings’ worth.”

In the top of the second, Atlantic jumped out to a 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Cody Bryant and a fielder’s choice. In the fourth, Park Vista tied it up on an RBI triple by Alec Saikal and Brett Lashley’s two-out RBI single. Atlantic manufactured a run in the fifth on Anthony Mazzaccari’s RBI single, and Park Vista’s Robbie Coman knocked in a run with a single to tie the game at 3.

But the teams left a combined 20 runners on base from the sixth inning on, and some great pitching and defense – and some odd bounces – left the game tied.

Atlantic senior Spencer Kasmere pitched six shutout innings in relief of starter Nick Garito, and junior Kyle Blank held Park Vista scoreless from the 11th on.

Coman, the Cobras’ starting catcher, was the best of the five pitchers Park Vista employed. He entered the game in the sixth inning and was sensational, said longtime reporter Steve Dorsey, who attended the game.

“He had to take his catcher’s gear off, come in and take his warmup pitches, and then he retired the side in order,” Dorsey said.

Coman struck out 10 batters in four innings of relief, including all six batters in the eighth and ninth innings. He allowed one hit and a walk.

Coman came to the plate in the 13th and delivered a two-out single. Trea Turner tried to score from second, and was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

“When [Coman] came to the plate I thought, here’s the story, right here,” Dorsey said. “He ends it with a base hit.”

But Atlantic made the play, and the teams played on. The story will be finished sometime down the road.