Rain Suspends WBC Elimination Game

By Walter Villa

JUPITER, Fla.—Nothing was accomplished, the quality of play was less than stellar, but no one can say that Friday night’s World Baseball Classic qualifier between France and South Africa was uneventful.

The game, which was tied, 2-2, was suspended at 12:54 a.m. due to rain. Then the lights went out at Roger Dean Stadium—and in the press box—at 12:59 a.m.

That was after a two hour, 18-minute rain delay prior to the start of the game and a 26-minute interruption in the fifth inning.

The most noteworthy part of the wild game was the no-hitter that five French pitchers had combined to throw with one out in the eighth inning.

Of course, France had issued 10 walks by that time, including five bases on balls and a balk in South Africa’s two-run fifth.

But Karl Weitz broke up France’s no-hitter with an infield single into the hole at shortstop. He got the hit off of 18-year-old righthander Leonel Cespedes, the fifth pitcher for France.

The announced attendance was 922, and they witnessed France score two runs in the first inning and then go dry for the next three and a half hours.

The game will resume Saturday at noon in the top of the 10th inning.

The loser of the resumed game will be eliminated from the tournament. The winner will play Spain at 7 p.m. Saturday for the right to face Israel in Sunday’s title game.