On a day when pranks and laughes are the order of the day, Mother Nature provided the biggest joke of all - making Ashland and Lake Erie go out and play a baseball game with the wind gusting to over 30 miles per hour at Donges Field.
"It was definitely a Wrigley Field day there," said AU head coach John Schaly. "It makes for an interesting day. I don't know if it's frustrating. You have to be aware of it and adapt."
AU did the better job of that in winning the first game of the doubleheader, 18-5. The second game was suspended in the top half of the seventh inning with the Storm ahead, 5-4. That game will be resumed on Wednesday (Apr. 2) at 2:30 p.m. The teams will play a regularly scheduled nine-inning game after that.
Ashland is 12-9 and 2-4 in the GLIAC. The Storm is 11-11 and 5-4.
AU starter Vince Frate worked the front six innings to get the win. The righty is 5-1 and has developed into the anchor of this year's staff. LEC got to him for five runs on eight hits, but again, that line is deceiving because of those winds.
The Eagles were clinging to a 7-5 lead entering the bottom of the sixth inning. That's when they took all the mystery out of this game, scoring 11 times. At one point in the inning, 10 consecutive hitters reached base. AU pounded out 18 hits, including homers by Mackenzie Hampshire and Alex Sortwell.
The first four hitters in the lineup - Wade Kaido, Austin Walts, Hampshire and Kyle Brooks, had two hits each. Kaido tripled and drove in three runs. Hampshire and Brooks had two RBI apiece. Sortwell went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI. Nick Edwards, Adam Vasil and Mike Lewandowski had two hits each.
"It was nice to string a bunch together," said Schaly of the sixth inning uprising. "We feel we're about ready to break out offensively."
The Storm used four pitchers in an effort to quiet the Eagles. The visitors got homers from Lucas Raley and Aaron Lindgren.
In the nightcap, Ashland scored three times in the bottom of the first inning, but Lake Erie evened the score with three runs in the top of the second. Both teams scored once in the fifth inning and Lake Erie had pushed across a run in the top of the seventh when the umpires halted the game due to darkness.