But the facts of the night were too clear to be confused by the weather.
With every passing round of the East-West All-Star game, it becomes the final time unsigned seniors from across the area will put on a baseball uniform and kick the dirt from their spikes or toe the rubber.
For them, every round is — in essence — a last chance.
“As a coach you coach a kid to take the game as far as you can take it … the seniors out here tonight are trying to do that,” Oxford coach Wes Brooks said. “They may get picked up by a college team or they might play church league next year, but at least when they lay down at night, they know they gave it one more shot.”
Twenty-four players from Calhoun and Talladega counties faced off against 22 players from Etowah and St. Clair. Few top-tier college-bound seniors participated, it was mostly those looking to add that modifier to their name.
Oxford’s Brent McFarland was trying to make that same thing happen, and took full advantage of the situation. With so many players, to give equal opportunity, pitchers are on a short leash. McFarland only got to work one inning, but struck out the side.
With two if not three Division I pitchers in front of him, it was more difficult for him to get noticed in the rotation at Oxford. But Brooks said McFarland could be a benefit to someone’s program, calling him a “threes bird, one stone” type of player.
“He can play infield, outfield, hits from the left side,” Brooks said. “He’s got great breaking ball, respectable fastball. He can do a lot of things for somebody, he could be perfect.”
McFarland said he doesn’t put an extra pressure on himself, but admitted the vibe of the game was decidedly different.
“It’s more of a showcase,” said McFarland, who is still hoping to catch the eye of a college coach. “You want to do good, but you also want the team to do good.
“You still play the game the way you know how to play it.”
Brooks said six college coaches have been at either one or both of the first two rounds, and radar guns were camped out behind home plate Tuesday night. But Brooks also pointed out, at this point, it’s about more than doing well: it’s about luck.
“Coaches are looking at wants more than needs,” he said. “If you’re throwing 88 (miles per hour), sure they want you, but maybe they’ve already got their staff set for the next season.
“Sometimes it’s about the stars aligning and being in the right place at the right time. They’re here tonight, so that’s a start.”
Nobody knows that any better than Childersburg coach Chad Slaten. After committing early and things not working out, he didn’t sign a scholarship until a coach saw him in the final round of the East-West more than two decades ago.
He’s hoping the same kind of magic can happen for one of his own players, D.J. Mizzell. With the pop of the college bats changed this season, more emphasis is being put on speed guys, who can leg out the base hits and steal bases and patrol the outfield.
Mizzell fits that bill and proved it in the first game. He walked in both at-bats, but more importantly stole two bases and scored a run.
“There’s a few people (talking to him). We’re just still trying to get it done,” Slaten said. “It hasn’t happened yet, but he’s going to keep on until something happens.
Bran Strickland is the sports editor for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3570 or follow him on Twitter @bran_strickland.