HUNTINGTON BEACH — The Costa Mesa National Little League team played almost three hours on Wednesday and it left the field without a win or loss.
Darkness called the Tar Heels' game against Ocean View after the two Minor A Division teams were even through eight innings.
Play resumed on Thursday and it took just two innings in 31 minutes to decide a winner.
Ocean View hung on for a 10-9 extra-inning victory in the District 62 Tournament of Champions. The team's reward came right away, another game in the tournament on the same field at Wardlow Park.
There was little time for Ocean View to celebrate. The next opponent, Robinwood, was waiting for Costa Mesa to clear the home dugout.
Once Manager Brian Lord and his team left the dugout, he looked back at two tough calls umpires made that he said might have cost his Costa Mesa team a semifinal berth.
The first call ended his team's last chance of putting away Ocean View in the bottom of the eighth inning before it got too dark to play on Wednesday night.
With runners on second and first base and two out, the umpire behind the plate called a third strike on an inside pitch that bounced near the plate.
Lord said he could understand why the umpire called a third strike, even if it wasn't the correct one in the bottom of the eighth.
"It was getting dark, maybe for safety [reasons]," Lord said.
The second missed call, coming in the bottom of the 10th, Lord took issue with on Thursday.
Costa Mesa was trailing by one and it had Nolan Weisser on second base with one out. Dylan Delaney hit a grounder, which the pitcher couldn't handle up the middle. Delaney was on his way to an infield single, because the shortstop, who fielded the ball, was falling forward as he fired the ball to first base.
Delaney seemed to beat the throw, with both of his feet. Only one needs to touch the base to be safe.
By the time Delaney ran through the base, the umpire called him out. Instead of having runners on the corners with one out, there were two out with just Weisser on third.
The second out allowed Ocean View's infield to play for the third out without having the play in. Pitcher Owen Wessel's only mistake was a wild pitch when pitching to Drew Porter, but Lord kept Weisser at third base.
"You either go [or stay], and I'm glad I held him because he would've been out easy," Lord said. "You don't want to end the game on an out at the plate."
After Porter drew a walk, the Tar Heels' season ended on a groundout to second base.