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On This Date in 2017: Stone Crabs play on back fields after net collapse

May 21, 2020

It was one of the weirdest weekends in Stone Crabs history. The Jupiter Hammerheads came to Port Charlotte expecting to play a routine, three-game weekend series against their division rivals. But as is customary in the Florida State League, the series opener was suspended after just one inning due to

It was one of the weirdest weekends in Stone Crabs history.

The Jupiter Hammerheads came to Port Charlotte expecting to play a routine, three-game weekend series against their division rivals. But as is customary in the Florida State League, the series opener was suspended after just one inning due to rain.

With that game scheduled to completed on Sunday, the Hammerheads and Stone Crabs started their 6 p.m. Saturday game as scheduled. With no clouds in sight, surely this game would get played without issue.

With the Stone Crabs looking to mount a comeback in the bottom of the fourth, Jupiter lefty Scott Squier dealt a pitch to Charlotte infielder Alec Sole. Sole popped the ball up toward the third-base on-deck circle. Hammerheads backstop Roy Morales shed his catcher's and went running full speed towards the padded, three-foot wall. Reaching up into the net, he made an excellent running catch. As he squeezed the ball for the first out, the wall took out his legs and his momentum sent his upper body flying into the net. The netting snapped from the wires at the top, and the entire apparatus came crashing down. Here's how it sounded on the Stone Crabs Baseball Network.

The net landed on Morales and a few fans in the front row, but fortunately everyone was okay. Sarcastic and entertained applause broke out amongst the Saturday evening crowd.

Fan hosts directed all fans situated behind home plate to move to sections above the dugouts, to avoid being hit with line drive foul balls. But after consultation with the league, it was determined that a game could not be played without a protective net.

For the second straight day, the game was suspended. The Hammerheads went back to the hotel without a result.

The Stone Crabs front office did what minor league teams thrive at - improvise. They got special permission to use Field 5 of Rays' Spring Training complex and hosted an unusual doubleheader on a practice field Sunday afternoon.

The 2017 Stone Crabs occupying the small dugout on Field 5 during their May 21 doubleheader.

Stone Crabs fans crammed into a few sets of small metal bleachers and watched official Florida State League action from a unique, one-time venue.

As pictured below, Stone Crabs general manager Jeff Cook brought a grill down to the back fields and grilled free hot dogs for the fans that showed up to watch the game. Free admission, free hot dogs and a twin-bill on a Sunday afternoon - baseball bliss.

Stone Crabs general manager Jeff Cook living up to his last name while distributing complimentary hot dogs to adoring fans.

Both suspended games were completed, albeit in a quiet and primitive setting. Even though the third game of the series was cancelled, the flexibility and cooperation of all involved salvaged the series and gave fans and players alike a memory they won't soon forget - when a freak net collapse caused Florida State League games to take place on the back fields.

Game 1 Box Score (NET GAME)

Game 2 Box Score (Rain makeup)