John Soper, the member of Memorial Stadium's part-time grounds crew who suffered cardiac arrest Wednesday night while helping remove the tarpaulin after a rain delay in the Baltimore Orioles' game against the Seattle Mariners, was listed in stable but guarded condition yesterday in Union Memorial Hospital's coronary care unit.

"He's very lucky," attending physician Frederick Sutton said, "very lucky."

The grounds crew was working after a shower had halted the game in the second inning, when Soper, 17, collapsed in center field. Head groundskeeper Pat Santarone was the first to reach Soper, and he administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation with the assistance of crew member Rodney Lane.

A number of doctors and paramedics quickly arrived on the scene, but Soper's heart fell into arrest twice more before his rescuers stabilized his condition.

"It looks like they did an excellent job," Sutton said. "He is recovering. If this had happened where nobody was trained, he wouldn't have made it."

The Orioles were idle yesterday, but assistant head groundskeeper Paul Zwaska and the other members of the stadium's full-time grounds crew were back at work -- although not entirely back to normal.

"When you think about it, our crew just about lives together during the season," Zwaska said. "On game days we spend 16 hours out here. When you put that much time in together, it's tough not to care. It's {hard} not to be feeling a sense of possible loss. A couple of the guys were really broken up until they got John revived. I'm just glad things came out all right."