Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hot Day at the Farm

Saturday marked Flemington's annual visit to the picturesque (and mown hay ridden) Howell Living History Farm near Lambertville, New Jersey in very un-Neshanock like weather (it wasn't cold and rainy).  All too often, Flemington has difficulty defeating its opponent, today's problem began with just finding one.  Originally the match was to feature a new New Jersey vintage base ball club, but the prospective club failed to materialize leaving the Neshanock scrambling for an opponent.  Fortunately the vintage base ball community is wonderfully supportive so a picked nine representing primarily the Diamond State Club of Delaware, one member of the Athletic Club of Philadelphia, a couple of "muffins" and vintage base ball revolver extraordinaire,  Charles "Bugs" Klasman, filled in admirably, a little too admirably in the first contest.  Thanks to all those gentlemen for helping out and the good folks at Howell for providing a beautiful venue, albeit with a tree taking up most of right center field.

Photo by Mark Granieri

Striking first, Flemington got off to an early lead and even though the Neshanock didn't maximize their opportunities, still led 6-1 after five frames.  The picked nine started to scramble back in the sixth, however, closing to 6-3 and then took the lead at 8-7 after seven innings.  Flemington managed to tie the game in the top of the eighth, but the visitors were not to be denied in their half, scoring nine runs for a 17-9 victory.  After the door was opened by some untimely Neshanock muffs, the picked nine did some excellent work at the striker's line and deserved their come from behind win. Flemington's attack was led by Brian "Spoons" LoPinto and Tom "Thumbs" Hoepfner with three hits apiece followed by a half-dozen Neshanock with two hits each.  Another item of note in the first game was a successful pick off play by Flemington pitcher Bobby "Melky" Ritter.

Photo by Mark Granieri

After a break for free food (thanks Howell Living History Farm), the obligatory performance of "Casey at the Bat," a seven inning second game got underway with the Neshanock in the field.  After keeping the picked nine off the score board in their first time at the striker's line, the Neshanock erupted for four runs in their first at bat which they matched and then some with five runs in both the second and third innings.  Ahead 9-3 after three, Flemington coasted home to a 16-6 victory behind the pitching of "Melky" followed by a solid relief effort from Dave "Illinois" Harris who also had four hits in as many times at bat.  Unfortunately "Illinois" missed out on a clear score because Ken "Tumbles" Mandel, once again in the wrong place at the wrong time, forced "Illinois" out at third after one of his base hits.  Right behind "Illinois" in offensive production was "Thumbs" with three hits, followed by "Spoons" and Joe "Mick" Murray with two apiece.

Photo by Mark Granieri

Base ball rules, including the 19th century variety, seem to have a way of producing statistical oddities.  In today's first game, for example, how did the Joe "Irish" Colduvell have more times at bat than the nine players ahead of him in the batting order in a game with no walks?  This statistical fluke was produced by a 19th century rule mixed with the aforementioned "Tumbles" unusual (to say the least sense) sense of timing.  Three different times in the first game, "Tumbles," batting before "Irish" managed to make the last out on the bases, not all  his fault, but he was there.  Under the 19th century rules that existed until 1879, when the last out was made on the bases, the batter who led off the next inning, was the player following the base runner in the batting order, not the player after the one at the plate when the last out was made (got that?).  "Tumbles," with his flair for the unusual enabled "Irish," not just to be the last batter in one inning, but the first batter in the next inning on three different occasions - not something you see every day even in the 19th century.  In any event, with the split on the day's proceedings, the Neshanock are 6-4 on the season heading into a double header next Saturday, June 17th against the Athletic Club of Philadelphia in the City of Brotherly Love.

1 comment:

  1. A nit to pick: the modern batting order rule was adopted for the 1879 season, apparently to make life easier for the scorer and because it was confusing even to those who grew up with the old rule who would be the first at bat the next inning.