Russ Johnson likes to keep dry when he's pitching, and he was in the wrong place Thursday at Ice Field.
Johnson, a senior on Lawrence High's baseball team, endured five innings of rainy weather. But he was rewarded with a 5-3 victory over Olathe South.
``It seems like every time I pitch, this happens,'' Johnson said. ``I hate the rain. It makes everything bad.''
Not everything. After all, the Lions did improve to 9-4 overall, 6-3 in the Sunflower League.
But it did wash out the second game of the scheduled doubleheader. After a five-minute rain delay, Andy Peck retired Olathe South in order in the top of the first. Then came another delay, and finally a postponement.
THE CONTEST was tentatively schedued to be made up at 1 p.m. Saturday.
``I couldn't get any traction,'' said Johnson, 1-1. ``I was cleaning my shoes between every batter.''
But, he added, ``The ball was fine. They did a good job in the dugout keeping it clean.''
Mike Rinke, said Lions' coach Lynn Harrod, took credit for that.
``He was an unsung hero,'' Harrod said with a smile.
Harrod was also smiling about Johnson's performance. The senior allowed two runs over the first five innings, then ran into control difficulty in the sixth. He walked the first batter in the sixth, then went to 3-1 on the next one before Brian Roberts relieved.
``I was impressed with Russ,'' Harrod said, ``and then Brian came in and kept us in the game.''
ROBERTS WORKED the final two innings and didn't allow a hit, although things became a little scary in the sixth.
The Lions led 5-2, Olathe South had the bases loaded with one out, and ninth-place hitter Chris Costello launched a long drive to left field.
But Mike Hughes made a nice grab just in front of the fence, turning it into nothing more than a sacrifice fly.
``Yeah, that scared me,'' said Johnson, who was watching from the dugout.
Peck, playing right field in the opener, also made a clutch defensive play a throw to cut down an Olathe South runner at the plate in the fifth with what then would have been the go-ahead run.
Hughes singled to start a three-run fifth inning for Lawrence. Peck later singled home Hughes, and Jason Patchen doubled home Ron Oelschlager, who had reached base on a force out.
The Lions scored twice in the first on a leadoff single by Jason Karlin, a triple by Oelschlager and a sacrifice fly by Peck.