Everett AquaSox first baseman Evan Sharpley stood ready and waiting in the box while designated hitter Hawkins Gebbers took his lead off second base as the 2,798 fans in attendance cheered wildly.
Unfortunately, Sharpley wouldn't see a pitch because the rest of the field at Everett Memorial Stadium sat devoid of opposing players as the Boise Hawks refused to budge from the dugout.
Boise manager Jody Davis, a former Major League catcher for the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves, pulled his squad off the field during the Northwest League game following a two-out double from Gebbers that made the score 2-0 in favor of Everett in the first inning.
Following an 80-minute rain-delay and a 1-2-3 top half of the first inning, Boise left fielder Ryan Cuneo, normally a first baseman for the Hawks, lost his footing while attempting to track Gebbers' well-struck ball. Davis then stepped out of the dugout after the play to speak with home plate umpire Matt Mullins for a few minutes before waving his team off the field.
Twenty-three minutes of discussion later, Mullins called "play ball" while Sharpley and Gebbers took the field.
The Hawks remained firm in the dugout.
Boise's forfeit rewarded NWL West-leading Everett a 9-0 victory.
"I've never, ever seen or heard of a forfeit in baseball in my life," Everett outfielder Kevin Rivers said. "It was kind of interesting watching (Evan) Sharpley at the plate and (Hawkins) Gebbers at second with no one else (on the field)."
Boise's Davis declined to comment on the decision to forfeit.
"The argument was with the field conditions," home plate umpire Matt Mullins said. "(Boise) did not feel that the field was playable."
Mullins added that once the lineup cards are handed over, the ultimate authority comes down to the umpires.
"I felt that the field was in playing condition," he said.
Everett manager Jose Moreno acknowledged that the playing surface was wet, but not unplayable.
"The outfield was a little wet, but in real good shape to play the game," Moreno said. "I was over here (managing) two years ago and we played in worse conditions than today, so I don't know (why Boise decided to forfeit)."
The statistics both teams earned through the five outs of play are erased. Everett (34-15 overall) maintains its lead on top of the NWL West and Boise's record drops to 22-27 overall, 3-8 in the season's second half.
"We all got ready to play. We came out and scored quick, everything looked good, but now we've got nothing," Rivers said, referencing the statistical deletion. "We've just got to move on and go out and beat them tomorrow."
Everett was awarded one run per player, thus the 9-0 final score-line.
Cuneo, Boise's left fielder, didn't appear injured, but Mullins said Davis' argument was for his team's safety.
"I don't feel that it (the forfeiture) was injury related," Mullins said. "It was an unfortunate circumstance. Just for his players' safety the Boise manager felt it necessary to remove his team from the field."
AquaSox fans weren't treated to a night of baseball. Rather, they witnessed an extremely rare occurrence for any professional sporting event. Fans can exchange their ticket to Saturday's game for any other game during the regular season.
Everett right-hander Chris Sorce (4-2, 4.24 ERA) takes the mound at 2:05 p.m. today in the fourth game of the five-game series at Everett Memorial Stadium. Boise counters with right-hander Dustin Fitzgerald (1-1, 3.93).
"You never know in baseball, every day you learn something different," Moreno said. "That's a weird situation, you have to be in baseball to learn everything."
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