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Archive for Saturday, May 17, 2003

Baseball makeup canceled

LHS-FSHS rematch finally ruined by rain

May 17, 2003

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If it wasn't one thing, it was another with the scheduled second meeting this spring between the Free State High and Lawrence High baseball teams.

Last week's tornado-accompanied rain led to a suspension of play at Ice Field, then Friday's persistent downpour forced the rescheduled game to be canceled.

"It hurt us because it took away any chance we had to be a (sub-state) host," LHS coach David Petry said of the cancellation.

The game couldn't be postponed because the Class 6A postseason pairings meeting will be at 10 a.m. today in Topeka and, noted Petry, "that field wouldn't be dry by 10."

Only the top two seeds in the eight-team sub-state are eligible to play host. Manhattan will be the No. 1 seed and Free State will be No. 2. Lawrence High will have to settle for the third seed.

"It was a long shot for us anyway," Petry said. "We would have had to win to force a coin flip and we would have had to win the flip."

Free State finished the regular season with a 16-3 record; Lawrence High ended at 15-4.

Friday evening, the game that had started May 8 was going to resume at the exact point it had to be called. The score was knotted at 3 in the bottom of the fifth inning. LHS had one out with runners on first and second and Free State had a one-strike count on the Lions' Matt Johnson.

Now those 4 1/2-plus innings are meaningless.

As it turned out, the Firebirds' 8-7 nine-inning win May 3 against the Lions at FSHS Field proved decisive in the seedings. If the Lions had won that game, they would be playing host next week.

Free State coach Mike Hill said it was likely the sub-state would be staged next Tuesday at FSHS with semifinals at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and the championship match at 8 p.m. A final decision and the complete bracket will be announced this morning.

"It is advantageous to have the home field," Hill said, "but the bottom line is you still have to play."

It's also advantageous for the Firebirds to have some additional time off before the sub-state begins.

"We have a thin (pitching) staff that has worked hard lately," Hill said. "We're a little sluggish, too, so I think the time off will help us."

In case of rain next week, it's also an apparent boon that Free State's diamond has a tarp and Ice Field, the city-owned facility in Holcom Sports Complex that the Lions call home, doesn't.

Or is the tarp a boon, after all?

"It doesn't work," Hill said. "It leaks. It has three big holes in it."

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