Wednesday, August 17, 2016

No Gold for Neshanock at Silver Ball Tournament

Genesee Country Village and Museum celebrates 40 years

Flemington took their third and final overnight trip of the season to the 14th Annual National Silver Ball Tournament at Genesee Country Village in Mumford, New York. While the Neshanock have had success in the past at this event, this time they could do no better than a 1-3 record against some fine competition. The team’s effort was hampered by a travel squad of only 8 ballists, adjusting to 1868 rules (no bound outs, no sliding, no stealing, no large leads) and waiting through several rain delays on Saturday in an area that had been under drought restrictions.

Saturday’s Rain

The first contest resulted in a 10-9 loss at the hands of the Woodstock Actives. It was held on the Great Meadow in the center of the village framed by wildlife statues and a tremendous gazebo. Flemington’s ragged defense did not aid their cause as their Canadian opponent held a slim advantage for most of the match. Leading the Neshanock were Danny “Batman” Shaw and Dan “Sledge” Hammer with 3 and 2 runs scored respectively. Flemington’s 9th man was Michael “Licks” Velapoldi formerly of the N.Y. Mutuals who is starting his own club in the Syracuse area. This game quickly demonstrated how it could take 4 singles to score a tally or how two consecutive singles often resulted in 1 hand with a man on first because of the minimal leading and no stealing rules.

Neshanock-Actives pregame rule review

The second contest against the Rochester BBC also resulted in a loss by the score of 10 to 3. The Rochester club is one of five clubs that call the Village home. The 3:00 start time was delayed until 5:00 as several thunder and lightning storms rumbled through the area prolonging the 1:00 contests. The game was held on the South Field made wet, but still manageable,  by the rain. This match ended in the top of the ninth as yet another storm fell onto the field of play. Flemington’s 9th man “SlackJaw” was recruited from the Victory BBC. Flemington’s runs were provided by “Batman”, “Sledge” and Tom “Thumbs” Hoepfner.

Neshanock-Rochester conference

The third contest had an early Sunday start time of 8:00am as Saturday’s rain pushed the later games into the next day. Although Flemington was bested by the Canal Fulton Mules (Ohio) 15 to 12, the back and forth slugfest was probably Flemington’s most exciting match of the tournament. Unfortunately this game ended after eight innings as the time limit had been reached. It was Flemington’s only game on scenic Silver Base Ball Park which consists of stands for the cranks, an outfield fence with manual scoreboard and an announcer’s stand that provides striker introductions and match updates. The field was affected by the previous day’s rain causing the ballists to be mired in mud especially around the base areas.  This time Flemington’s 9th man was “Handyman” of the Victory club, who contributed 2 runs. Leading run totals by original Neshanock were provided by “Batman” (3), “Sledge” (2), “Thumbs” (2) and Jim “Jersey” Nunn (2).

Neshanock-Canal Fulton match

The fourth and final contest produced Flemington’s only victory of the tournament which came, by coincidence, at the expense of the Victory BBC, another Village team, by a 10 to 3 final. This match was a return to the Great Meadow where field conditions were good despite the rainfall. Flemington’s final 9th man was “Dizzy” of the Live Oak club. The Neshanock’s run leader was Brad “Brooklyn” Shaw with 3 along with “Sledge” and “Jersey” adding 2 runs apiece. Hopefully ending the tournament on a high note helped with the long ride home for the Neshanock squad.

Neshanock-Victory match

Despite Flemington’s results and the rain delays, the club would like to thank Genesee Country Village and Museum for always running a well organized tournament in a beautiful setting. Congratulations to the Talbot Fair Plays BBC for winning the tournament.  Special thanks to the ballists who rounded out the Neshanock’s roster which demonstrates the camaraderie in 19th Century Base Ball. Maybe next time Flemington will bring home the gold albeit disguised as a sliver plate.

Silver Ball Trophy

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