It was the most famous road trip of Lee Ware's career.

It covered just 10 miles and never left Salem County.

But the Woodstown baseball coach said it was the most unforgettable afternoon in his 40 seasons.

"It was 1997," Ware said. "In those days, you had to have a .500 record to make the playoffs. We were 7-8 and it was the day of the [playoff] cutoff, and we were supposed to play St. James at home.

"Our field was under water. No way we could play. I called [St. James coach] Fred Pratta up and he said, 'I think we can play on our field.' "

Ware didn't just bring his players on the bus. He also arranged for the Woodstown grounds crew to make the trip - and to bring shovels, rakes, and dirt with them.

The caravan made its way along Route 40 from Woodstown to Carneys Point. Once there, where it was raining hard, the players, coaches, and members of the grounds crew jumped out and got St. James' field ready to play.

"We were three raindrops away from canceling that game," former Woodstown athletic director Glenn Merkle said.

Woodstown won the game and qualified for the playoffs with an 8-8 record and as the 14th and final seed.

Three weeks later, the Woodies won the South Jersey Group 2 title.

  - Phil Anastasia