Violent thunderstorm washes out Keys game

August 22, 1994|By Kent Baker

FREDERICK -- The scheduled Single-A Carolina League game between the Frederick Keys and Prince William Cannons was rained out yesterday and will be canceled.

A violent thunderstorm swept through Frederick 45 minutes before the 4 p.m. starting time and lightning struck a barn about a half-mile from the third-base stands at Grove Stadium.

Spectators waiting for the Keys' grounds crew to make the field playable watched the barn burn down.

The tarpaulin was removed from the infield at 5 p.m., and workers cleared a huge puddle of water from the right-field corner and began to work on the infield.

But Frederick manager Mike O'Berry said the work was strictly cosmetic.

"They were going to have to get something to squeegee water out of dead center field and right-center," said O'Berry. "There was three or

four inches of standing water in some places. We were looking at 7 or 7:30 before we could even start.

"I would have liked to have gotten this game in, but I've got three outfielders I don't want to put out there in this situation. [Kimera] Bartee got hurt on a wet field before."

Rain -- this time a steady drizzle instead of a heavy downpour -- resumed, and the final game of the season between the two teams was history.

Frederick is percentage points in front of first-half champion Wilmington in the league's Northern Division and must win the second half to qualify for the playoffs. The Blue Rocks beat Lynchburg, 12-5, to erase the Keys' half-game lead.

"I don't know whether it's good or bad to get rained out," said O'Berry.

The Keys are off today, then open their final road trip of the season at Durham, N.C., tomorrow night. They play six games at Durham and Kinston before returning home.

"If we come back still in first place, I'll be very happy," said O'Berry.

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