The wind was numbing. The play, sloppy. And the game, seemingly never ending.
On the coldest, most bitter day of the spring, fifth-ranked Perry Hall and host No. 14 Patapsco took part in a 3-hour, 6-minute marathon that produced 24 runs, 10 errors and a sudden shortage in each team's supply of facial tissues.
Moments after Perry Hall came away with a 13-11 victory, Gators coach Larry Butts put the day into perspective.
"We're just glad it's over," he said.
Trailing, 9-6, after four innings, the Gators (5-0 overall and in the Baltimore County 3A-4A League) took command with a seven-run fifth that put them ahead to stay.
Twelve players batted in the inning, with the big blows coming from catcher Tom Trimble -- a two-run single -- and second baseman Steve Boothe and left fielder Adam Nastalski -- each with RBI singles.
"In a game like this you've just got to put as many runs on the board as you can and not waste any at-bats," said Boothe, who also hit a two-run homer to right-center in the fourth. "This was just a wild game."
But the Patriots (4-1, 4-1) also did their share of hitting, erasing a three-run deficit with five runs in the first -- including three on Don Pusinsky's home run -- before posting three more in the fourth and two in the sixth.
It was trouble in the field, however, that hurt the hosts. Coach Dave Ingle attributed most of the five errors to the frigid conditions.
"Basically, we're playing a winter sport here," said Ingle. "Neither team can play the way they do in 80 degrees. We knew there would be errors. Maybe if we had another 10 degrees on them we could've taken it."
The cold also affected both starting pitchers, who had trouble staying loose between their turns on the mound. Patapsco's Darryl Kalb faltered and was removed in the fifth; Gators' pitcher Jason Essel overcame his difficulties to finish up strong, thwarting a late comeback attempt by retiring the final five Patapsco batters.
Despite allowing 13 hits, the southpaw struck out 10 and wasn't helped by his team's five errors.
It was anything but pretty, but for Perry Hall it was an important league win.
"It was so cold that guys were having a lot of trouble making the routine plays," said Butts. "You just take whatever you can get."
* Meade 8, Severna Park 7: Matt Nein's single in the bottom of the seventh scored Brad Nein with the winning run as Meade (1-3) surprised visiting and No. 10 Severna Park (2-2). Matt Nein finished with three RBIs for the Mustangs, who lost to No. 8 Old Mill, 36-0, Monday.
* Patterson 17, Southwestern 0: Sophomore Jennifer Preston pitched a no-hitter, striking out 11 batters to lead host Patterson over Southwestern.