MELISSA — While there may not be a clock in baseball, the starting pitchers for Pottsboro and Bells had a sense that Mother Nature was going to impose a time limit.


The forecast for most of the week has been filled with rain and so the Cardinals and the Panthers wanted to try to sneak in Game 1 because of the potential havoc lurking ahead.


So it fell to Pottsboro’s Coby Langford and Bells’ Jacob Monroe to not only navigate the opposing lineup but the lightning off in the distance that could halt the contest — either for 30 minutes at a clip or until a later date.


In less than an hour Langford and Monroe quickly matched zeros into the top of the fifth inning but the hurlers weren’t quick enough as storms rolled in and the game was forced to be suspended at that point with the Panthers coming to bat with the top spot of the order.


After waiting nearly a half-hour, Pottsboro head coach Tyler Smith and Bells head coach Kent Craig agreed to delay re-starting the game until 5 p.m. on Thursday back in Melissa, and upon conclusion of the opener then play the regularly-scheduled Game 2 at 7 p.m. If the series does end up going to a deciding third match-up, it will be at 7 p.m. on Friday at Melissa.


Bells had the best chances to break the scoreless deadlock, putting runners on base in every inning until their turn to bat in the top of the fifth was delayed.


Langford worked around a one-out walk to Matthew Conner in the first, striking out the next two Panthers he faced.


In the second, Hunter Hazel walked with one out and Keaton High singled to center. A pop-up to short and another strikeout ended that scoring opportunity for the Panthers.


Bells had a two-out rally in the third when Trystan Mallory reached on an infield single to second and Landon Nelson walked. Langford bore down again with a strikeout, his fifth, to close out the inning.


In the fourth, Konder Morris had a two-out walk but was stranded.


Pottsboro left a pair in scoring position, including in the fourth when Hayden Kent walked to open the inning and stole second with one out. A strikeout and groundout to second ended the frame.


Jasek Hooker was stranded at first following a one-out walk in the first and after picking up the Cardinals’ first hit to lead off the third, Grayson Watson tried to advance on a pitch in the dirt but Lane Brown recovered to throw him out at second. With two outs, Jake Williams walked and stole second before Monroe kept the game tied with a strikeout.