PENDLETON — Pendleton pitcher Chad McCoy stared down La Grande’s Eli Wisdom at the plate, readying his third pitch of the at-bat facing a 1-and-1 count. McCoy had picked up the first two outs of the seventh inning without issue, a five-pitch strikeout before a first-pitch swinging popout to shallow left field.

Then he saw it. A?spike of lightning cut through the distant dark storm clouds above the visitors’ dugout.

“I was hoping they (the umpires) didn’t see it so we could get the last out and just finish the game,” McCoy said.

But the umpires were just as observant, waving both teams off the field with La Grande chasing Pendleton on the scoreboard 6-4. The final out in the top of the seventh inning — the one that could clinch the win for the Bucks — would have to wait.

Normal circumstances call for a half-hour delay from the last lightning sighting. With wicked winds whipping through the trees beyond the outfield fences at Bob White Field and the Tigers an out from defeat, Pendleton coach Greg Whitten met with his counterpart, Mark Lanman, at home plate briefly before the sky open up.

“We’re going to finish this game in La Grande,” Whitten said, a one-out game to be played immediately before the Bucks and Tigers regularly scheduled contest Tuesday. “There’s going to be two outs, 1-and-1 count, same hitter and Chad will probably be OK to pitch that day. He’ll have a few days rest so we’ll probably have him throw to one hitter, or hopefully one hitter.”

Pendleton (6-5) was 95 percent of the way to its seventh win of the season. The home-and-home, two-game series with La Grande (4-3) marks the final outings for Pendleton before Columbia River?Conference season. After Tuesday’s game-and-an-out, the Bucks host Hood River Valley next Saturday.

Pendleton’s almost-victory Thursday came on the arm of McCoy on the mound and consistent scoring from the bats. Pendleton scored one or two runs in each of the first five innings.

Connor Johnson, Quentin Quaempts and Ian Rivera — the top three hitters in the lineup — each had two hits. Matt Holmes, a fifth inning defensive replacement, knocked in a pair of runs when his turn to bat came in the bottom of that inning with a hustle-double to center field.

McCoy threw 93 pitches over the first six innings and was at 101 when the game was called due to the weather. He struck out a pair and had allowed six hits while pitching to contact.

“I told them (the coaches) I was going to go seven (innings) in about the fifth inning,” said McCoy, who threw twice as many strikes as balls. “I just wanted to, I needed to because my defense was playing so well.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been a part of something like this, though,” he added, talking about a multiple-day complete game effort. “Hurricane weather like this.”

The East Oregonian received multiple reports Thursday of tornado sightings near town with the storm.

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Contact AJ?Mazzolini at ajmazzolini@eastoregonian or 541-966-0839.

 

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