Rain forces ground crew to dump 'everything' during RailCats rain delay

2013-05-22T18:30:00Z 2013-05-23T01:44:08Z Rain forces ground crew to dump 'everything' during RailCats rain delayBy Hillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com

GARY | The rain downpour lasted only 15 minutes at U.S. Steel Yard, but the cleanup took another 90.

RailCats groundskeeper Michele Pickering said she dumped "everything" onto the field Wednesday trying to clear out giant puddles of water that accumulated while the tarp designed to keep out water wouldn't budge further than the pitcher's mound.

She had help from her grounds crew, the front office and even some players who ran out of the dugout to help pull the tarp and manage the after-rain cleanup.

The RailCats and Wichita Wingnuts entered the 1 hour, 42 minute rain delay at 1:24 p.m., just as the RailCats put two runners in scoring position with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Then rain fell so quickly that puddles formed on the tarp, weighing it in place before it could be pulled over the infield. 

RailCats players ran onto the field to help with the cover.

Manager Greg Tagert said the only player he pulled back was pitcher Alain Quijano, who is slated to start Saturday in Kansas City.

"That's just kindness. Obviously the players don't have to do that, and I don't want a player on the team whose mind is 'let's just call it a day, we're down 5-1 here,'" Tagert said. "I didn't sense that today. In fact, I sensed just the opposite. Whether we were winning 5-1 or losing 5-1 the attitude should be the same."

Even as players were running underneath the tarp to try to give it some leverage, the behemoth wouldn't move.

"You always have to be conscious of getting hurt in a situation like that, but the reality is that we wanted to continue the game because we still thought we had a chance to win," catcher Ryan Babineau said. "The longer that got delayed in getting the tarp on, the less chance we had of that to happen."

In the meantime, the park was locked down. A child from Marquette Elementary School in Miller had hopped on an earlier bus back to the school, but the group leader had not been notified. City procedure is to lock the park and not let anyone in or out. U.S. Steel Yard was locked for approximately 40 minutes while the child was located.

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