Silver Ball Weekend

The Eclipse packed their belongings and headed east to showcase their talented club against some of the finer clubs in America’s northeast.  This by invitation only tournament allows ballists from Northville to meet, watch and play other talented gentlemen in this game of base ball.  The first match for the Eclipse saw the team meet up with Talbot Fairplays.  Twice champions of this tournament, this excellent club from Maryland quickly demonstrated why they would be considered a strong favorite to play for another championship over the weekend.  Before the Eclipse had time to truly take in the majestic sights of the Mumford terrain over the outfield fences on Silver Park, the Fairplays had tallied three aces in their first striking appearance.  The Eclipse were fortunate to strike back with three aces of their own in the bottom of the inning, but their normally sure fielding fled them in the next two innings while allowing an ace to tally in the second inning and two more to tally in the third inning.  Talbot is an excellent hitting club and they did nothing to dispel that notion this Saturday morning when they added seven more runs in the fifth inning.  Maybe the weary legs of the Northville club began to foot themselves as they helped bring life to their bats in the sixth inning when they were able to plate five runs.  TinMan started the scoring with a two out single to deep left center that allowed Cuppa to race around the bases freely.  Two singles later, Mac drove in two more runs with a sharp liner up the middle while Trouble and Rev contributed run scoring singles before the inning ended.  However, on this bright sunny day, the day belonged solely to the Fairplays and the Eclipse were privileged to share the field with fine gentleman and ballists.

The second match of the day saw the Eclipse challenging Spring Creek.  Donned in their red checkerboard shirts, white suspenders and blue jean bottoms, the ballists from Mumford, New York epitomized the essence of a true base ball club.  They fielded the leather extremely well and struck it just as violently.  The only two things that hit harder that afternoon on the field of Great Meadow was the rains and the sounds of thunder that accompanied it.  The Eclipse tallied one ace in the first when Bender singled home Cuppa, but it proved an uphill battle against a club as defensively talented as Spring Creek.IMG_3962

IMG_3959IMG_3962

Trailing four runs to one in the fourth inning, the Eclipse were able to tally another ace when TinMan doubled home an elusive Stitch from second.  However the momentum could not be sustained as the match was delayed on two instances caused by aggressive rain storms.  Trailing nine runs to two in the fifth inning, the Eclipse returned from a rain delay to plate three runs and cut the Spring Creek lead to four runs.  A strong defensive effort of their own in the sixth inning seemed to instill a rainbow’s chance of hope on the horizon.  Two quick outs to lead off the inning dampened spirits a bit, but three straight singles from the top of the Eclipse order gave cause for a sunny disposition.  Up walked TinMan to the plate with the bases full and he lifted an acceptable offering to the outfielder in right that was held in his hands just before a thunderous boom from the skies above echoed around the field.  The base ball gods had spoken and there would be no more playing ball this day as the Eclipse fell to Spring Creek, nine to five in six innings.

The next day the Eclipse, obviously feeling well-rested because they welcomed the early morning eight o’clock match time, met up with Live Oak on the friendly field of Upper Staging.  They quickly likened the offerings being sent by the hurler from Live Oak as they tallied five in the first inning and four more the next inning.  Mac and Trouble continued their display of properly hitting fair balls that no fielder could reach while each assisted in driving in three runs each.  IMG_3969IMG_3970Their happiness was tempered when one of their members sustained a sprained finger while trying to field a ball on the fly in left field.  Cuppa, attempting a new method of catching objects in the air, discovered that when the hands are not positioned properly to field a ball in the air, not everything is awesome.  However, his discomfort didn’t carry over to holding a stick as he continued to strike well in the match collecting four hits, second only to his team mate, Bender, who accounted for five safe hits.  On this morning, the Live Oak squad was just simply overmatched against the Northville club settling for an eighteen to nine loss.  The miles logged on the trip began to feel less daunting on the way back home for the Eclipse as they now stared at the possibility of splitting their matches over the weekend.  They would now face the host Rochester club, who with their earlier three wins in the tournament would seek to gain a spot in the championship game.  Competition is said to bring out the best in some people.  Surely being looked on as an unlikely favorite to begin the match, the Eclipse found themselves rather jovial and loose amongst themselves.  Their one key to playing competitive matches earlier in the season was their sure-handed fielding.  The appearance of such good fortune found its way back to the club from Northville on its return to Silver Park.  A scoreless first inning from both clubs set the stage for the Eclipse to take an early lead on their next striking appearance.  Mac moved Bender over to second after a key hit to third with two strikers dead.  Trouble delivered the first run as the next striker and Rev followed it up with an assisted single to center scoring a sprinting Mac just ahead of a close throw at home base.  Holding on to a two to one lead, Frisco lead off the fourth inning by surprising his opponents in the field and switching over to the right side of the plate.  An infield single lead to a run as TinMan moved him to third on a single to center and Bender drove him home with a fly to right field.

The Eclipse continued to showcase solid fielding when on the grass.  This seemed to apply more pressure on a Rochester team accustomed to putting up crooked numbers and eventually tallying double digits.  As the Northville club continued to play well throwing and fielding the sphere, their bats also continued to strike well.  Mac and Trouble led off the fifth inning with consecutive singles and then seemed destined to be left out there without the thrill of coming home when the Rochester club was able to retire the next two strikers.  However, Louie found a perfect section of grass in left field to drop his run scoring hit and Stitch followed suit with another run scoring hit to left.  Suddenly the Eclipse led the match 5 to 1 and the not only had the momentum shifted in favor of an upset win for the Eclipse, but the multitude of cranks that had begun to assemble in the grandstand behind the Eclipse bench was witnessing and feeling it as well.  Rochester quickly tallied one, but the Eclipse bats remained relentless in response.  Although the Eclipse couldn’t tally runs in the ensuing three innings, they were showing Rochester that this match would not be an easy one for them to win.  As the final frame started, Frisco led off the inning with a hard single to center.  TinMan and Bender echoed their at bats with strong singles to the outfield, but the equally strong arms of the Rochester outfield and their close positioning to the infield offered little room for chances to score.  The pivotal moment in the game came from Ribs as he drove home Frisco with a line shot up the middle that eventually forced Bender out at second.  However, Ribs had delivered the sixth run for the Eclipse and gave them a 6 to 2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth.  Nothing is assured in base ball.  Different circumstances present new challenges for what may seem to be obvious answers.  A four run lead may seem safe in base ball, especially if you consider that only 3 outs are required to end it, but this is indeed why so many of us love this game.  A series of defensive miscues by the Eclipse and a key hit to right center by Rochester allowed the tying runner to reach first base with two hands dead.  However, just as quickly as Lady Luck seemed to shine her face on Rochester, she winked at the Eclipse and saw to it that the third and final out of the inning would rest in the hands of their catcher, Ribs, who in the top of the very same inning would be credited with driving in the deciding run.  A boisterous crowd of cranks celebrated the seemingly improbable win for the Eclipse and Rochester was left just short of a perfect tournament record and the opportunity to play for the Silver Ball title in front of its own cranks.

Game4

Thank you, Emma, for being our good luck charm

Next up for the upstart Eclipse from Northville is a date on Walnut Grove in Greenfield Village against the 2016 World Tournament of Historic Base Ball Champion, Lah De Dahs.

Forged into Iron

The club nine of Northville made the journey into Chelsea to test its ability against some foreign talent in the annual Ironclad Festival.  In the opener, the Eclipse fell behind early to the Livery Brewers from Benton Harbor.  Having never seen pinstripes fashioned on the field before, the Northville club seemed distracted and resulted in a two run deficit before finally grasping their own sticks of lumber.  Toes and Bender tallied the first two runs for the Eclipse and at first glance an onlooker may get the impression by looking at the vast field of partially sun-bleached grass that runs would come without much effort.  However excellent fielding of the sphere was on display by both clubs for the many cranks in attendance.   The Brewers tallied a go ahead run in the third, but the Eclipse responded in the fourth inning with five consecutive singles, initiated by Jaundice, to score two runs and take a one run lead.  Mac would single home Jaundice and would later plate home on a Frisco single to right field.

Triple Decaf
                          Triple Decaf

An inning later, Cuppa would connect wood with leather into a soft patch of grass between the left and center fielder resulting in two hundred and seventy feet of running and would score on the ensuing hit by Rev to left.  The Eclipse continued to play well on the defensive side of the field and ensured that the game was well in hand by adding three more tallies in the sixth inning.  Stitch would double to center and score on Frisco’s hit to deep right that also enabled Frisco to circle the bases unimpeded.  The final tally would show the Eclipse besting the Benton Harbor club seven runs to three.

Brewers and Eclipse
                    Brewers and Eclipse

The second match for the Eclipse resulted in great exercise while swinging at delightful offerings from the hurler by way of the Ghostriders from Wyandotte in Ohio.  The first five strikers from Northville reached base safely and resulted in four tallies before an out was recorded.  Five additional safe passages for the Eclipse tallied three more runs in the first inning before Wyandotte was permitted to strike.

Trouble brewing
                       Trouble brewing

The second frame offered no consolation for the Ghostriders as the club nine from Northville continued on their impressive display of hitting to tally seven additional tallies.  The third inning brought little relief as the Eclipse tallied six more runs and coupled that with fine fielding on any solid hit from Wyandotte.

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                             Mac Daddy
Revvin it up
                           Revvin it up
Summer Jaunt
                          Summer Jaunt

All Eclipse players struck well, with Jaundice and Ribs noticeably providing well-deserved recognition.  Ribs plated three runs and struck five hits, while Jaundice plated five runs of his own, singled in six appearances and drove in five runners.  The final tally showed the Eclipse with 28 runs to 7 runs for the Ghostriders.

In the final match of the day the club nine from Northville was paired up with the Stars from Sidney.  The Stars caught the Northville club sluggish for most of the game as their fielding was a demonstration of how to properly play the game.  Few Eclipse strikers were fortunate to move freely about the bases and only one ballist was able to score successfully through four innings of play.  Rev showed fortitude and speed when he was able to plate home ahead of a tag for the third out at second base by Shorty from Sidney.  The lone run was important for team morale as every solid hit for the Eclipse seemed to find its final resting place in the capable hands of an awaiting Star fielder.  A breakthrough came in the fifth inning for the Northville club when Frisco led off with a triple to right.  He would score on Bender’s one out double to right and cut the Stars lead to a reachable score of six to two.  A few strikers later, Jaundice would plate Bender with a well-placed strike to right.  More runs may have tallied for the Eclipse on the very next hit to left field by Ribs, but the pill took an absolute unfortunate hop and was cradled for the inning’s last out.  As the Eclipse began to once again play secure defense while out on the field, their bats returned to form while striking.  Trailing seven runs to three, Mac led off the sixth inning for the Eclipse with a nice strike to the left side of the diamond and promptly moved over to second on a bound out by Stitch.  Frisco duplicated his feat an inning earlier with another three bag hit that seemed to catch no one off guard.  Toes and Bender followed with consecutive singles, plating Frisco in the process and setting up Rev to drive home Toes from second on a two out single.  Jaundice continued the hitting with a single to plate Bender and Ribs ended the scoring with a two run double driving in both Rev and Jaundice.  Six runs in the sixth inning provided the Northville club with a nine to seven lead, its first of the game.  More inspiration came in the eighth inning as a result of solid defense from Jaundice.  Having some trouble earlier in the game with the unusually hilly terrain, Jaundice made the play of the afternoon with a grab in deep left field on a bound that halted the progress of more runs to score for the Stars.  As a result, the Sidney club could only score one additional run while the Eclipse added two runs in the final inning resulting in an eleven to eight win.

A fantastic ending to an incredible hosting event by the Monitors and Merries of Chelsea and their sponsors.  Many thanks to Honest Jon and his tireless team of supporters for the invite and sportsmanship.

A Sparkling Fourth

The Wahoos made the journey into the town of Northville for the second consecutive year to take part in the pre-match parade with the host Eclipse club.  Families lined the streets and walkways intent of catching glimpses of the ballists this young nation has produced in a game so few have had the opportunity to see.  Young children waved Old Glory in the sunshine, while smiling at the entertainment normally reserved for circuses and minstrel shows.  Large iron objects flew overhead creating quite the disturbance for many settlers and their livestock.

"Hurling" Hunden
                       “Hurling” Hunden

The Wahoos won the toss and elected to play the field first.  With one hand dead, Toes, a strange character who plays the game with the Eclipse without leather bound to his hands or feet raced around the diamond after well-placed strikes of the lumber by Bender and TinMan, eventually tallying on a strike by the young kid, Louie.

Blues Traveler
                           Blues Traveler

An inning later, the Eclipse tallied two more runs when Jaundice and Postman touched home plate.  Jaundice showed progress while running around the bases to the delight of the on-looking crowd, while Postman rang the absent bell.  The Wahoos were not so fortunate while swinging the wood sticks.  Their attempts at safe passage were either fielded on the bound or on the fly by the Northville nine.  Their hurler, Stitch, offered gracious looks to the strikers from Royal Oak with nary a whizzer.

Big Trouble
                             Big Trouble

The fielding of the round sphere on the grass seemed quite humorous.  Some players reacted with glee while others displayed faces of consternation, but none gave the impression of fear.  An incident of this manliness occurred in the sixth inning when a red hot ball echoed off the bat of Frisco.  The knock raced towards third base and the awaiting fielder, Dizzy.  Throwing concern for his well-being and the possible care for his own family to the side, Dizzy casually reached out his two bare hands to stop the ball’s flight.  Time stopped only to be interrupted by the sound in the collision of the two forces.  The ball dropped to the grass, unable to finish the marvelous attempt and the cranks rewarded the effort with huzzahs and gasps.

Yellow Hammer
                         Yellow Hammer
MadDog
                                MadDog

The Eclipse tallied three more runs in the fifth and two in the sixth.  The Postman delivered all three runners on a double to center field in the fifth inning while TinMan and Chip singled runs home in the following inning.

Wait a minute, Mr. Postman!
            Wait a minute, Mr. Postman!

After six innings, the Wahoos were still experiencing a whitewash.  They had a great opportunity in the sixth when the speedy Teddy led off the inning with a single.  He was ultimately thrown out at third base when Chip of the Eclipse gathered a hard single off the bat of Sparky and threw the lemon peel on one bounce to the waiting hands of TinMan who easily tagged Teddy.  A fine defensive play for the Eclipse center fielder in what is becoming the norm for the young ballist.  The Northville club continued to play well for the remainder of the game, fielding and throwing the ball to one another with precision.  The end result after a few more runs tallied displayed the Eclipse Base Ball club eleven and the Royal Oak club zero.

Keeping TinDad busy
                   Keeping TinDad busy
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
Eclipse BBC 1 2 0 0 3 2 2 1 0 11
Royal Oak 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

 

 

Rising Sun

In what can best be described as a typical Michigan summer day, the Early Risers traveled west for another match against the Eclipse ball club.  Hines Park was the venue for the match as the Eclipse promised to generously host the club from Detroit as has been the custom for several years now.  The Early Risers were retired without incident after an opening single from Pokey.  In the bottom half of the inning, Frisco managed to secure first base with a well-placed infield ground ball.  Toes stubbed his swing but it was enough to advance Frisco ninety feet.  An out later, Tin Man continued to do what most of the vintage ballists are well-accustomed to… he plated the runner with an unobstructed hit.  However, the scoring for the Eclipse on this match would be as common as an actual eclipse itself.  On this day, the hurler for the Early Risers, Hatchet, manipulated the ball to avoid making solid contact on the wood that was held firmly by any Eclipse striker.  He continually kept the striker baffled and quickly disappointed any hopes the team in black and orange would have in taking advantage of the new field with all of its indiscernible terrain.  A modest and charming fellow, Hatchet, quickly found himself least likely to win an election if he ran for a political office.  The Early Risers did not find much success easily plating runs of their own, but they did manage to tally a few in the third inning.  Snurek began the inning with a hard strike and Puddin, displaying the bright colors not seen this side of the Rouge River, followed with a safe hit of his own.  Wrench clamped down on the finest offering he witnessed and plated Snurek while Pokey shook Puddin home with a fine strike that gave the Early Risers the two to one lead.  Early Bird

Unable to draw even on their ensuing plate appearance, the Eclipse took to the field in the fourth inning to keep the game close.  Scallywag opened the inning with the first of his two hits on the day and traveled the other two hundred and seventy feet to touch home.  All Natural

Now faced with a two run deficit, the Eclipse responded with exceptional care in fielding the sphere and tried once again to use the attention to detail while swinging their bats.  It wasn’t until the seventh inning when Mac lead off his team’s order with a clean hit.  Frisco was unable to advance him, but replaced him on the bases after Mac was forced at second.  Frisco advanced on another well-placed ground ball off the bat of Toes and a few pitches later, he stole third.  Bender singled him home and the Eclipse trailed by one run again, 3-2.  Unfortunately for the Eclipse, the Early Risers continued to field well and managed to hold on to the short lead for the remainder of the match.

The Eclipse prepare to host the Wahoos from Royal Oak in their second consecutive Fourth of July appearance after the 10am parade in downtown Northville.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
Early Risers 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
Eclipse BBC 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2

Winter is coming and going

A successful start to the 2016 base ball season for the Northville club was met with resistance from a talented Dexter club and the elements of nature. The lush green playing surface of grass exhibited the sporadic weather pattern of rain from the weeks prior, including a menacing downpour from a few sunsets prior. Mad Dog from the Union Base Ball Club of Dexter wasted no time in stretching his limbs after the dormant winter by demonstrating the effects of hard labor in the lumber mills. As the first striker of the year, Mad Dog sized up a convenient offering from Stitch, who started as the opposing hurler for the Northville club, and nailed it directly over the limited arms of Frisco in center. The speed of Frisco was no match for the acceleration of the leather-wrapped ball off the wooden bat and it was a runner’s duel to see if Frisco could send the ball back towards home base before Mad Dog crossed it. Gifted with power and speed, Mad Dog easily tallied the first run of the season without a throw. Doughboy followed two consecutive Dexter singles with a high riser than nearly required bread crumbs to track down as it resulted in a three base hit into very deep right center. He would score on Knees’ following plate appearance and Dexter quickly led four to zero. The Eclipse responded with four tallies of their own in the bottom of the first frame. DexterKneesTinMan once again delivered the key hit as he picked up where he left off from last year. A towering drive that sounded just as loud as it was hit resulted in an unimpeded advance to third, where he scored two strikers later. Brief periods of warm sunshine were replaced with the actual sightings of small snowflakes on the field. A rarity to be witnessed for the brave few who traveled in support for both fine clubs. Dexter added three more runs in the next frame as Mad Dog, Hogwash and Prospector crossed home showing their fine base running skills. Dexter1The art of catching the ball while playing defense began to take shape for both clubs as scoring became less frequent. Bravery was also exhibited in the fifth frame as TinMan approached the plate keen on advancing his team mate, Toes, who was touching second base. After seeing a suitable offering from Knees, TinMan thoroughly connected on a disturbing hit towards the fielder at third. Mad Dog once again cast his ominous shadow on the Eclipse early in the season by refusing to retract his already-callous hands from the path of the approaching ball. The end result was the retirement of TinMan’s plate appearance and the confirmation that Mad Dog is indeed mad. Heading into the seventh frame and holding onto a two run lead, the Union club plated three more runs with the top of their lineup proving that they will be difficult to keep off the bases for other opponents as their season continues. Northville was fortunate to tally two more in response to the inning and after Dexter added another run in the eighth, the Eclipse trailed by four in their home opener at Ford Field. They used the momentum gained from the top of the ninth inning when their defense held Dexter scoreless even after they loaded the bases with no one dead. So to add suspense to an almost already hopeless situation, the Eclipse recorded two outs before Frisco and Toes struck consecutive singles. A well-placed hit by Bender scored Frisco while TinMan followed with a double plating both Toes and Bender. Trouble, playing in his first game as a member of the Northville club, completed the comeback with a sharp single to score TinMan. True gentlemen as they are, the captains of both clubs agreed to leave the game as it stood … a tie for both clubs and the knowledge that spring, if only temporarily on this day, had returned.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
Union BBC 4 3 0 1 0 0 3 1 0 12
Eclipse BBC 4 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 4 12