---- — By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
MILTON -- With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the bases loaded for Milton, Mark Artley hit a pitch deep into right field that unfortunately for Milton, was caught to end the threat.
After the fly out, Lewisburg and Milton lined up and shook hands as if to say that they've had enough with the game tied 2-2 after nine innings and darkness quickly approaching.
The catch by Lewisburg's outfielder prevented the game from ending, as it was suspended after nine due to darkness. The game is scheduled to resume today at 5:30 p.m. at Milton.
"We played (Milton) close all year," Lewisburg manager Dave Hoffman said. "We were the last seed coming in here but I told the guys, 'We're the team to be reckoned with."
The close call that Jake Girton escaped on the mound to stop play was a recurring theme for both teams during a back-and-forth tilt that both squads had chances to win.
"We just couldn't get that cheap one to hit and drop," Milton manager Dave Byers said.
In the eighth inning, Cody Shaffer appeared to tire on the mound, walking three straight Lewisburg hitters with two outs before striking out Joey Gardner.
Shaffer went the distance for Milton -- or as long as the light would allow the game to continue -- pitching nine strong innings, settling in after early battles with his accuracy to post zeroes on the board from the fifth inning on. Shaffer struck out 12 but also walked eight and hit four batters before fine-tuning his play as the game wore on.
"Two years ago (Shaffer) would have taken himself out of the game," Milton manager Dave Byers said. "(Shaffer) kept battling real hard."
Before a number of excruciatingly close frames, both teams took advantage of scarce opportunities to push runs across.
In the bottom half of the third, an Artley walk followed by a Michael Jacobs single with one out gave Milton a runner in scoring position, trying to erase a 1-0 deficit.
Daniel Bridge laced a 2-1 pitch over the first baseman's head and into right field and Artley and Jacobs started to sprint around the bases on the crack of the bat.
Artley scored from second and Jacobs used heads-up base running, breaking for home to score as the throw home was fired down to second to try and nab Bridge.
Bridge later advanced to third but Luke Smith worked out of trouble with a ground out and a pop-up.
Lewisburg had originally taken the lead in the first as Brandon Batman took a ball off of the elbow to force home a run with the bases loaded.
Lewisburg wasted little time evening the score, taking advantage of an error to springboard their half of the fourth. A sacrifice fly by Michael Cooper with one out marked the last time a player would score.
Milton nearly found itself three outs from a win with Brady Chappell on third and Taylor Porter on second with one out in the sixth. Two harmless pop-ups in the infield ended the inning.