Nature granted Cardinal Newman mercy before the umpires could Thursday.
Dusk fell after three innings with Augusta Christian leading, 17-1. Two pitches into the fourth, the home plate umpire stood up and declared that conditions were too dark to continue.
The game would have to be finished in Columbia at a later date, he announced.
Coaches from both teams huddled at home plate and decided the score would stand.
"We're not going to make them play any more," Cardinals coach Mike Darnell said. "We're not going to waste anybody's time."
The Lions, whose home field has no lights, won their region opener as they begun their defense of three consecutive SCISA AAA state titles.
Augusta Christian pitcher Mike Robinson picked up the win. He also launched a grand slam.
The Cardinals might have remembered Robinson from a previous performance.
"I did it last year in JV," he said. "Against the same team."
Robinson's blast was part of an 11-run second inning for the Lions, who piled up six runs in the first.
Augusta Christian was a day removed from an 8-7 loss at South Aiken to open the season. The Lions stranded nine runners during the loss, and South Aiken scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to win it.
Lions coach Craig Johnson admitted the Cardinals weren't the best measure of his team's ability, but he said he was pleased with the way the team cleared the base paths.
"They're one of the weaker teams in the region," Johnson said. "We should win ball games that way."
Johnson scheduled formidable nonconference opponents to offset the relative lack of competition his team will face in SCISA.
The Lions will play North Augusta -- the 2007 South Carolina Class AAAA runner-up -- twice. They also will get Laurens, Lexington and Gilbert during a round-robin event in Lexington, S.C.
Johnson still has objectives for his team when it plays a lesser team.
"We're not going to take any mercy on them early," Johnson said. "We're going to go out and do what we need to do."
The Lions batted 17 times in the second. Shortstop Tyler Bourdo doubled twice during the inning and Robinson's grand slam produced the team's final runs.
Robinson gave up his lone run with two outs in the bottom of the third.
Cardinals DH Jack Garrick took two balls in the dirt to start the fourth inning before the game was called.
"Are they 16 runs better than us? I don't know," Darnell said. "They're probably at least 10 runs better than us."
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