Len Mohney, the baseball coach at College of the Canyons, has diverticulosis, a severe intestinal infection. Among the courses of treatment his doctors prescribed during a four-day stay in the hospital last week were heavy doses of antibiotics, bed rest and a liquid diet.
Among the courses of treatment his doctors did not prescribe was to wear short pants and thin socks and stand on the edge of a barren field for nearly four hours during a rain-hail-and-snow storm accompanied by gale-force winds with a wind-chill factor in the 20s.
But that's what Mohney did on Tuesday, prescribing his own treatment as he guided his team to a 13-10 victory over Long Beach City at College of the Canyons in weather that might have given goose bumps to a harp seal.
It's a good thing his doctors won't find out about it.
"They made me sit on the sideline in a lawn chair for three games last weekend," Mohney said. "I just couldn't do that anymore. I had to get back out there."
So out there he went, facing into a wind that would have knocked down Don King's hair. At the end of the game, Mohney still had diverticulosis. He also may have added pneumonia and frostbite to his list of ailments.
"It was pretty bad," he admitted. "I can't feel my toes anymore. Can you?"
Politely turning down the offer to feel the coach's toes, a spectator asked Mohney if being exposed to such extreme weather conditions was a good idea after a 96-hour hospitalization that ended just last week.
"Maybe not," he said. "But I wanted to be in this game. I had to be here. I'll be all right."
In Long Beach City College, the defending state junior college champion Cougars were facing the team that helped knock them out of the double-elimination Casey Stengel tournament last Friday with a 7-6 victory in the ninth inning. Harbor College finished the job later that day, defeating Canyons 6-5, also with a last-inning rally.
"These guys beat us last week and we wanted this game today," Mohney said. "I just had to be here."
When Mohney posted his starting lineup, it seemed that perhaps the medication he's taking had also revved up his sense of humor. On a day when heavy rain was forecast, Mohney penciled in "Chris Craft" as his pitcher. He was starting a boat. Right, coach. And who's your center fielder, Curt Flood?
But it was no joke, and left-hander Chris Craft pitched well for four innings.
But it was Mike Bible who powered Canyons to the win. The catcher drove in one run in the first inning, two more in the third with a single and closed the book on Long Beach with a bases-loaded triple in the eighth.
Canyons trailed, 8-7, in the sixth, but took a 9-8 lead on an RBI single by Ray Palagyi and a fielder's choice that scored Palagyi. Long Beach tied the score in the eighth on a run-scoring single by Frank Meza, but Canyons went ahead 10-9 in the bottom of the eighth on a bases-loaded throwing error, then put the game away on the three-run triple by Bible off the right-field wall.