66ers game suspended after the 15th inning

Monday came and went, and the 66ers were still looking to pick up their first win of the season. But they hadn’t lost for the fifth time yet, either.

The Sixers game against Lancaster at Arrowhead Credit Union Park on Monday was suspended at 11:50 p.m., as the teams were about to start the top of the 16th inning in a bizarre set of circumstances. The 3-3 game will be resumed at the point of interruption at 6 p.m. today (Tuesday) prior to the regularly scheduled 7:05 p.m. game between the same teams.

Lancaster led the game 3-0 entering the bottom of the ninth when pinchhitter Matt Berezay hit a three-run double that tied the score and sent the game into extra innings.

By the 16th inning, the Sixers had used all the regular pitchers they wanted to use (Paul Koss was available, but they wanted him available for Tuesday’s game). So first baseman Eduardo Perez began warming to pitch to the 16th inning. By that point, the umpires were discussing whether they should continue the game, along with Sixers manager John Valentin and JetHawks manager Chad Epperson.

The game appeared to still be on, but then Valentin decided to make a pitching change before the inning even started.

“He wasn’t throwing strikes,” Valentin said. “I wanted a guy who would throw strikes.”

So, shortstop Bridger Hunt began warming up instead. By this point, Sixers general manager Loren Foxx appeared on the field and gave the plate umpire a cell phone, presumably talking to league president Joe Gagliardi. After a brief discussion with both managers, the umpires waved the game off and it was suspended. 

“The bottom line is, we didn’t want to do anything to hurt the kids,” Valentin said. “It’s only the fifth game of the year.”

The bizarre element at the end of the game continued in the lockerrom afterward. After the game, Lancaster shortstop Christian Lara was introduced to his new team. Yup, the team right down the hall, the Sixers. Lara, who did not play in Monday’s game, is expected to officially join the Sixers Tuesday. He was traded in a Dodgers-Red Sox deal. Valentin said he didn’t know who the Dodgers traded, but it wasn’t anyone from the Sixers. Regardless, a Sixers roster move will have to be made to make room for Lara. It is not known whether Lara could play for the Sixers in the resumption of the suspended game.

By the way, the 16-inning-and-counting game is believed to be the longest game for a San Bernardino team since May 12-13, 1995 when the San Bernardino Spirit defeated host San Jose, 1-0 in 21 innings.