The Harris Field crowd sent up an ovation, and time was called so the ball could be removed from play. Seldom has a first-inning infield hit been acknowledged with such adoration, especially at Lewis-Clark State.
And rarely over the past two months has Justin Fuller reached base this way.
But this dribbler that somehow skipped past the pitcher is momentous in the sphere of Warrior baseball. It gave Fuller a hit in his 27th consecutive game, matching him with the L-C record-holder, John McAninch, who hit safely in the first 27 games of 1995.
So concluded the only real drama that hovered around Harris Field on Saturday. Although the Warriors extended some other statistical sequences as well, Fuller's accomplishment was the emphasis of L-C's 12-5 and 20-1 victories over Whitworth in an afternoon doubleheader.
Overshadowed was the Warriors' winning streak, which rose to 20 games, the first time they have won that many in a row since 1997. Equally obscured was the continuing productive tendencies of Jose Rodriguez, who with RBI in both games has now driven in runs in 12 straight.
The focus was trained on Fuller, the junior second baseman who has raised his batting average from .250 to a team-leading .378 since March 12, when he started the streak with a double against Bellevue. Fuller has 15 doubles in that span, including an RBI drive into the right-center gap in the fourth inning of Saturday's opener.
He left nothing to suspense in the nightcap. On the fourth pitch of his first-inning at-bat, Fuller bounced a grounder to the right side of the mound. Whitworth pitcher Kris White took a lunging swipe but couldn't glove it, and Fuller hustled down the baseline before the ball was in anyone's control.
"That's quite an accomplishment," said L-C coach Ed Cheff, who, after the feat was announced over the public address system, asked for the ball, which he later gave to Fuller. "I told him he needed one more hit if he didn't want to end up with an asterisk by his name."
Fuller can claim the record outright Tuesday, when the Warriors, 48-7, face Gonzaga in Spokane.
Whitworth, which wrapped up its season at 13-26, was outhit 33-14 on the afternoon. Eighteen of the Warriors' hits were of the extra-base variety, including home runs in both games by Tyler Best, who raised his season total to 13.
Billy Steverman drove in four runs in the opener, two on a fifth-inning homer, while Allen Balmer has four RBI in the second game, in which L-C equaled its largest winning margin of the season.
The Warriors used predetermined pitching splits in both games; the innings were divided six ways in the nightcap. The starters in both -- Clay Johnson (4-1) and Sal Aguilar (5-0) -- were awarded the victories.
Rob Williams, who has been sidelined by shoulder problems, made his first appearance in a month, working three innings in the opener (one hit, two runs, five walks, one strikeout).
Cheff was particularly pleased with the second-game performances of Austin Weilep and Mike Causey. Weilep threw just 20 pitches -- 16 of them strikes -- over two perfect innings, in which he struck out three. Causey retired Whitworth in order in the sixth.
The start of the first game was held up 28 minutes by a combination of instances. When the infield tarp was removed Saturday morning, it was revealed that the sprinklers had been turned on, if only briefly, sometime during the night. L-C players and coaches rectified the situation, then a torrential shower further delayed the proceedings.