Originally created 04/17/99

Power failure suspends GreenJackets contest



Given the way Hickory left-hander Clint Johnston was throwing in his return to Augusta, maybe the power failure at Lake Olmstead Stadium on Friday night was a good thing for the GreenJackets.

At 8:40 p.m. on Friday in Game 1 of a four-game series at The Lake, one of the stadium's eight light towers lost power with Hickory leading 3-0 and batting with two outs in the top of the fifth inning.

Play was suspended after a delay of 42 minutes, and the game will resume tonight at 6:05 p.m.

As a result, tonight's regularly-scheduled contest between the Jackets and Crawdads will be a seven-inning game, and will begin 30 minutes after the completion of the suspended game. Tickets for Friday's game will be honored tonight.

Jackets general manager Chris Scheuer said the outage may have been caused by a blown fuse at the top of the light tower behind the third-base stands. A game was suspended at The Lake last season after lightning struck two light towers.

"I'm not going to risk somebody who's not a professional pole climber to go up there and flip the switch," said Scheuer, who hopes to have a technician in this morning to fix the problem.

Friday's game marked the return of 15 former GreenJackets to Augusta. The Crawdads are now the South Atlantic League affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom the Jackets had an 11-year working agreement that ended last October.

Johnston, Pittsburgh's first-round draft choice out of Vanderbilt University last year, began his professional career with the Jackets last summer, going 3-3 with a 2.75 ERA in 16 games.

The 20-year-old was one of four former Jackets in the Crawdads' lineup on Friday, along with Gray, Ga., native Rico Washington, Franklin Anderson and J.J. Davis, the Pirates first-round pick in 1997.

Through his first four innings Friday, Johnston had limited Augusta to just one hit with three walks and four strikeouts.

Another former Jacket, right-hander Andy Prater (0-1), who spent part of the 1997 season in Augusta, will start the regularly-scheduled game for Hickory, while Greg Miller (0-0) will start for the Jackets.

Rob Mueller covers minor league baseball for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 823-3425 or robm99@hotmail.com.