FRANKLIN — Chad Krempin joked last week that he wished “good luck” to any team wanting to play No. 2 Salado in a one-game series.
Mother Nature made sure neither he nor Elkhart baseball coach John Adair had any choice in the matter after thunderstorms swept through Central Texas late Friday evening.
“It’s unfortunate you can’t play a series, but this came out of nowhere,” Krempin said as rain fell at Franklin’s The Ranch baseball complex.
Following an hour delay, a change in venue and another 30-minute delay due to lightning, Salado’s three-game series with Elkhart was called off in favor of a single winner-take-all Region III-2A semifinal game today at 2 p.m., tentatively at Franklin High School.
“It’s just best for the kids, best for the families, best for everybody involved. So we’ll just show up tomorrow and put our best guy on the mound and play one game,” Krempin said.
Given the heavy rain, both coaches were expected to discuss other potential venues this morning if Franklin’s grass field is not dry enough.
With four starting pitchers he feels confident in, Krempin had favored a three-game series. But because of the change, the second-year Salado head coach will opt to throw junior ace Casey Frazier (9-0), who has won his last 22 starts since suffering a loss in his varsity debut at the beginning of his sophomore year.
“He’s a big-game pitcher usually. He throws strikes and changes speeds — he does everything a good pitcher is supposed to do,” Krempin said of Frazier, who he compared to four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux.
No. 2 Salado (31-5-1) will be the visitor and Elkhart (31-8), which advanced to the 2A state semifinals last season, will be the home team. The Eagles planned to throw 6-foot-7 senior Reagan Bazar, who signed with Louisiana-Lafayette, on Friday while the Elks would have countered with senior ace Jordan White, who is likely to be called on again today after striking out 10 in a 5-1 win over Warren in Game 1 of their quarterfinal series last Friday.
With more storms approaching during the 30-minute lightning delay at about 8:30 p.m., both coaches discussed potentially starting the first game as late as 9 or 9:30, with a hope of getting it in as close as possible to the UIL deadline of midnight for completion of a full seven-inning playoff game.
But as rain began falling at about 8:45, both Krempin and Adair agreed it was best to not start a game that might have to be halted and continued Saturday — a situation neither coach wanted to see happen.