Mother Nature shows Klassic form with rain

Saturday, June 14, 2008
TOBY CARRIG ~ tcarrig@semissourian.com The sky began to brighten as officials at the Kelso Klassic began to remove the tarp Friday night before the tournament's opening game.

KELSO — The Kelso Klassic wasted no time improving its batting average when it comes to rain.

With a rain delay of nearly two hours before the start of Friday night's opening game, the men's fast-pitch softball tournament now has been affected by rain 75 percent of the time, 18-for-24.

Rick Heuring, longtime tournament organizer, is used to it by now. He already was plotting out the adjustments for the 14-team double-elimination tournament, slated to end Sunday.

"Even when we move it to different weekends, it still rains," Heuring said.

"We're going to be one game behind on each field, the way it's looking now," he added. "We'll be out here at daylight working on the fields. We won't be that far off."

Only two of the opening night's four games were expected to be played, and the first one started at around 9:45 p.m.

The opener didn't look so good for the local team, upholding another tradition. A local team hasn't won since 1997, and Kelso Fastpitch dug itself an early 8-0 hole after just 1 innings against the Southern Illinois Pirates.

TOBY CARRIG ~ tcarrig@semissourian.com Kelso Fastpitch outfielder Mark Spence played catch with local youths during the rain delay prior to the opener of the Kelso Klassic.

"This is still a good turnout," Heuring said of the crowd, which nearly filled the third-base bleachers behind the Kelso bench and included several trucks pulled up to the left-field fence. "It would have been tremendous had it not rained on us."

The rain made Field No. 2 unplayable for Friday night.

The tournament is scheduled to resume 8:30 a.m. today.

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