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updated: 4/29/2014 9:11 PM

Time limit leaves Wheeling, Meadows tied after 8

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By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

Rolling Meadows and Wheeling tried to turf out a game Tuesday.

It wasn't the weather that spoiled the plan, but rather time.

With games cancelled due to rain or wet field conditions, the game between Meadows and Wheeling was moved to the new turf fields at Heritage Park in Wheeling.

And while the field conditions were superb, the game ended with no decision as the teams played to 2-2 tie after 8 innings. Despite having lights at the field, the game was called due to a time limit imposed before the game because the new fields were reserved for another game at 6:30 p.m.

"I thought before the game there was no way we would finish before 6:30," Rolling Meadows coach Jim Lindeman said. "And I was right."

According to Lindeman, the game will be picked up in the top of the ninth inning Thursday, even though both teams are scheduled to play Wednesday.

"That is how the conference code is set up," Lindeman said.

Both pitchers were masterful, with Rolling Meadows' Brett Gibson and Wheeling's Nathan Cooney each throwing all 8 innings.

"What a ballgame," Wheeling coach Jason Wieder said. "Both pitchers were terrific.

"I am really proud of Nathan. He is the ultimate competitor. He was lockdown in tough situations and was able to wiggle out of them."

Lindeman was equally proud of his hurler.

"Gibson did a great job for us," Lindeman said. "He has been solid all year for us. He did a great job of getting ahead of the hitters."

It appeared early that it was going to be a hitter's day, with each team scoring a run in the first inning. But from then on, it was the pitchers dominating.

Rolling Meadows (8-8, 4-2) scored in its half of the inning when Alex Niecikowski singled and then stole second. He then scored on the first of Erik Schurtz' 4 hits.

"I have been seeing the ball real well this year," said Schurtz, who entered the game with a .491 batting average. "I have been batting third this year. That gives you an extra boost because you need to show that you deserve to be in that spot."

Cooney, who is a junior, helped himself in the bottom half of the inning when he tripled to lead off for Wheeling (9-12, 1-5). Cooney scored Jake Jordan's groundout to tie the game at 1.

Wheeling manufactured a run in the 4th to take a 2-1 lead. George Alimissis single with one out. He then advanced to second on a balk, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a world pitch.

Rolling Meadows tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth. Nick Daub and Gibson singled, and Daub came around to score on Schurtz' RBI single. Kevin Montero then singled to load the bases, but Cooney got out the jam by getting the next batter to hit in a double play.

"My defense did a great job for me," said Cooney, who allowed 11 hits and struck out five. "I am disappointed that we didn't get to finish, and that we didn't get a chance to win it."

Gibson, who is a junior, pitched out of his own jam in the sixth.

Brenden Spillane reached on a fielder's choice. He then stole second and third, but was stranded when Gibson struck out the next batter and got the final out on a fly to right.

"I felt good out there the whole game," said Gibson, who allowed 6 hits and fanned five. "It was a great day to play. Too bad we couldn't finish it."

Lindeman said that this was a first for him in his 13 years as head coach.

"I never had a game called on a time limit," Lindeman said. "But this has been a strange spring. Any opportunity to play is a good one."

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