Comets work a long Friday

O’FALLON — To say there was uncertainty Friday for the Fatima Comets would be an understatement.

Their season could have been over after one pitch Friday, or they could have been holding the state championship trophy at the end of the day.

It was the latter, as the Comets ended up weathering the storm.

“When we came to the ballpark after we won, we didn’t think we were playing today,” Fatima coach Scott Kilgore said. “We saw the water, it was pouring down rain for about 35-40 minutes. Then it would let up, then it would start up again. It was a mess. It was an absolute mess.”

The mess started Thursday when the Comets’ semifinal game against Hallsville was suspended in the bottom of the seventh inning due to heavy rain. Hallsville led 2-1, but the Comets had a runner on third base with one out.

When it resumed about 9:30 a.m. Friday, Fatima eventually tied the game on a grounder by Nolan Bax and won the game on a walk-off single by Seth Lehmen.

“It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever been a part of in my life,” Lehmen said after the semifinal game. “You’ve got to give it up to the guys ahead of me in the lineup. No pressure on me at that point.”

More rain shortly after the completion of the semifinal win led to the cancellation of the third-place shortly after it started.

The grounds crew worked to get the field ready, but puddles littered the outfield, making it slippery. The warning track surrounding the infield was under water.

A key for Fatima may have been its ability to stay loose. The Comets remained on the concourse, talking with family and friends during what turned out to be a two-hour rain delay leading up to the championship game. Springfield Catholic players sat in the dugout for about 45 minutes.

The rain has completely altered the schedule for the week’s championships. Tornado warnings were issued for the St. Louis area about an hour after the completion of Fatima’s title game, postponing the rest of the day’s games.

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