Ethan Farino’s 30th pitch literally brought the thunder on Wednesday. The Ward Melville righthander threw a fastball that caught the outside corner and just as plate umpire Billy Ambrosini signaled for a strike, crew chief Rich Lionetti, standing behind the mound, threw up his hands and called for a stoppage in play. The Patriots were leading West Islip 1-0 in Game 2 of the Suffolk Class AA baseball semifinals.
Lionetti ordered the Ward Melville defense off the field and the West Islip players out of the dugout and into a safe area as severe storms rolled onto the South Shore of Long Island.
“I heard thunder, and safety is our first priority, so we had to stop the game,” said Lionetti, in his 19th year of officiating. “The Section XI playoff protocol is to wait 30 minutes for each lightning strike or if we hear thunder. We waited it out and then the teams came back to warm up and resume the game. But we met with the coaches and the site coordinator and decided that with overcast skies and an impending forecast calling for more severe weather it was in everyone’s best interest to play another day. So, the game was suspended.”
The game will be picked up from the point of stoppage Thursday in West Islip at 3 p.m. West Islip batter Nick Siano will have an 0-and-1 count with two outs and runners on first and second in the bottom of the second inning.
Ward Melville, which leads the best-of-three series 1-0, had taken the 1-0 lead when Brady Doran lifted a sacrifice fly to score Ryan Hynes in the second inning. Hynes had singled, the first of three hits for the Patriots with one out in the inning.
Both starting pitchers are eligible to pitch again Thursday as neither had thrown more than the pitch count maximum of 40, allowing each to pitch the following day. West Islip starter Mike LaDonna threw 40 pitches in two innings.