Islands Night at Hammond Stadium Wednesday night started with a festive environment, but a light rain peppered the fans and delayed the Fort Myers Miracle's eventual 3-1 loss to the Charlotte Stone Crabs.
Most of the Sanibel and Captiva celebrants did not get to see the game. A 70-minute rain delay between the festive Islands Parade and the first pitch thinned out the crowd considerably and fans left throughout the game as the hour grew later.
The Stone Crabs scored an unearned run on a wild pitch in the first inning and Robi Estrada, the No. 9 hitter in the order, cracked a two-run home run to right field in the second inning for the deciding runs.
Miracle starting pitcher John Garcia allowed the leadoff batter to reach base by walk three times in five innings. After the early scoring spree, though, Garcia (0-5) and the Miracle bullpen pitches seven scoreless innings. That allowed the Miracle several chances to catch up and possibly take the lead, but they left 10 runners stranded on the bases, including three runners in the fifth inning after loading the bases with one out.
In relief of Garcia, Edgar Ibarra pitched three scoreless innings allowing two hits and Matt Hauser pitched out of a ninth-inning jam with two runners in scoring position with no outs.
The Miracle (15-24) scratched our their only run in the third inning. Angel Morales reached on an infield single in the shortstop hole with one out. Daniel Santana's groundball between first and second was misplayed for an error with both runners safe. Danny Ortiz put Morales on third with a flyball to center and Jairo Perez came through with a two-out single in the shorstop hole to drive in the run.
Santana, Morales and Ortiz each accounted for two hits for the Miracle.
The game was played in a steady light rain through the fifth inning and a lighter sprinkle in the sixth before it quit from the seventh inning on.
Richard Johnson of Bailey's General Store, the presenting sponsor of the 19th Islands Night, and Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane welcomed fans to the celebration before the rain and game.
"It's great to see you tonight," said Johnson. "When you woke up this morning did you feel good about the weather? I did - I said it must be Islands Night."
Ruane added, "Welcome to a night of fun and laughs and enjoy the night."
The few remaining fans at the end of the game went home disappointed, but with candy and trinkets in their pockets tossed from more than 40 vehicles representing Sanibel businesses and organizations during the pregame parade.
The Stone Crabs (19-19) took the four-game series from the Miracle 3-1. The Miracle go on the road to start a four-game series at Brevard County on Thursday.
Charlotte 120 000 000 - 3 7 1
Fort Myers 001 000 000 - 1 9 0
W - Suarez. L - Garcia.
2B - Mahtook (C), Arcia (FM), Rohlfing (FM). HR - Estrada (C).