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Archive for Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Lions, Firebirds ready - weather or not

May 7, 2008

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Free State battles Shawnee Mission NW on the diamond

Thanks to rain-outs, the Free State Firebird baseball team play rival Lawrence High on Wednesday and Thursday. But before worrying about two sessions of the city showdown, Mike Hill's squad hosted Shawnee Mission Northwest tonight... Enlarge video

It's the ultimate conundrum: preparing for a game that likely won't be played.

That's what the Lawrence High and Free State baseball teams are staring smack in the face.

The Lions (9-7) and Firebirds (14-2) have been looking forward to today's second attempt at the city showdown for a month, but Mother Nature might not be kind enough to allow it. Today's forecast calls for heavy rain, and, for the second time this season, the league battle between the two schools might be in jeopardy.

"That's how it goes in the spring in Kansas," LHS coach Brad Stoll said. "You have to plan like you're going to play, but you have to have a backup plan, too."

The backup is to make up the game later in the week. But because of a quirk in the schedule, the two are slated to do battle in a non-league contest Thursday.

"We call it the Subway Series," Stoll said. "Play one at Ice Field on Wednesday and hop on the subway and play a game at KU on Thursday."

While the situation lends itself to clever names, the back-to-back games against each other's rival figures to be odd for the players who are used to having some time to regroup between contests.

"I kind of like playing them early in the season and then later, just to see how each team has developed," Free State senior John Wilson said. "But I think it'll be different to play them on back-to-back days, just to test the pitching staffs and to see how we come back the next day. I think it'll be fun."

Thursday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Kansas University's Hoglund Ballpark.

Today's game, if it happens, is slated for 5:30 p.m. at Ice Field and is a make-up for a contest that was scheduled for April 8. The game began that day but didn't make it out of the first inning.

After seeing Free State load the bases in the top of the first, LHS's Dorian Green struck out the side to get out of the jam. In the bottom of the inning, Lawrence's first six batters reached base, and the Lions pushed two runs across the plate.

The game, whenever it is played, will pick up with LHS leading 2-0 in the bottom of the first with the bases loaded and one out.

"I'm sure the kids are excited about that," Stoll said. "But coaching-wise, you have to go in thinking it's 0-0 because there's no momentum."

According to state rules, the lineups for both teams must remain the same, although the starting pitchers may be changed.

Regardless of who's on the field, Stoll said his players have their work cut out for them.

"Free State's one of the better teams in Kansas," Stoll said. "And it's extremely important for us to continue to minimize our errors. As I said the last time, whichever team can play a clean game has a great chance to win."

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