“Though somewhat late in the season, the club express themselves ready for a challenge.” Exactly 148 years to the day, the newly organized base ball club stated its intent at the annual school meeting after announcing its formation. As history recorded, the club played its first organized match with the club from nearby Plymouth, Michigan. Once again in the township of Northville the clubs of Plymouth and Northville renewed their rivalry on a day starting off with very early rain and grey clouds and later developing into a mixture of sun, light shadows and surprising wind gusts.
Both teams traded a few scoreless innings early. In fact, a one handed grab by the Rovers’ Moonlight at third prevented a sure run for the Eclipse and ensured that the striker who hit it, Stitch, would not require firewood during the winter holidays as the fire that now burns deep in his belly would be sufficient enough. The Northville club would tally first in the third inning when Frisco would easily score from third off a single to deep center off the bat of TinMan. The Red Rovers would respond to the deficit in the fourth inning when Thunder would crack his wooden bat on a special offering from the Northville hurler and stand proudly at second base. Soapdish, Moonlight and Whistler would all follow in succession with singles and the Plymouth club would take the two to one lead advantage. Skilled ball fielding and possession kept strikers from reaching base or advancing for most of the game and any misplay would be crucial to turning the momentum in the favor of either ball club. Such misfortune found its way on the Plymouth club in the sixth inning as left field proved treacherous and resulted in Doc and Crusher driving in two important runs for the Eclipse after a leadoff strike by Cuppa.
The Eclipse defense as it has done for most of the season settled in and pledged to secure the tight lead. The bottom of the sixth inning set the tone for the remainder of the game as the Eclipse retired the heart of the dangerous Red Rovers lineup on three consecutive strikers. Unable to add to their lead in the seventh inning, the Eclipse were forced to stave off another threat from the Red Rovers in the bottom of the inning when Thunder struck again with an opening single to right and subsequent steal of second base. However, three more consecutive strikers for Plymouth failed to bring Thunder back home and the lead still remained three to two in favor of Northville after seven complete innings. TinMan opened the eighth with his third of fourth hit of the game and eventually scored when Mac slipped back into the lineup for today’s match and had the nerve to pinch a likeable offering deep into left center field for a standing triple. Crusher would bring Mac back home on his ensuing at bat with an infield single to the left side and a five to two Eclipse lead.
The tenacious Red Rovers would threaten again in their at bats in the eighth inning. Beast began the inning with a liner down the left line and with two hands retired Whizzbang launched a ball to deep right center that seemed destined for extra bases. Patrolling center as he’s been accustomed to, Frisco began tracking the ball’s flight and eventually caught up to it while securing it on the fly for the final out of the inning. The Eclipse would add an additional tally in the ninth and once again ward off the threat of base runners scoring for the Red Rovers in the final inning.
Offensive stars for the Red Rovers consisted of Thunder who collected three hits, a run and two steals while Whistler adding two hits and an assisted run. The Eclipse were once again paced by TinMan’s four hits, one tally and one assist. Five other members of the Eclipse including Goose, Mac, Doc, Cuppa and Frisco added two hits apiece. Hopefully the next match against the Plymouth club will not necessitate a nearly century and a half waiting period. Sunday closes out the 2015 season for the Eclipse when the Richmond Bees aim to visit Ford Field for the first time.
A picturesque day greeted the Northville club as they ventured into the holy grounds in Dexter. The Union Base Ball Club of Dexter seemed poised to even the series from a match earlier in the year. Beneficiaries of the coin toss, the Eclipse elected to take the field first and test their agility in the grass while avoiding the remnants left from a fowl after party. The Union club scored in haste as Dash led off with a triple down the right field line and eventually scored on a well placed strike from Doughboy. The Eclipse managed to respond in their half of the inning when Cuppa doubled home Frisco and Chip. A few strikers later he would score on a single from Rev. The third inning saw Dexter stake claim to four tallies with the big hit coming off the bat of Swede driving in two runners. With two hands expired, the Eclipse retorted with one run in the fourth inning when Stitch mended a single that brought home Crusher and saw the lead cut to a Dexter 5-4 advantage. Dexter responded with two more tallied aces in the fifth when Dash peppered another two-out hit to right scoring Bucko and Knees. Their lead increased to 9-4 when Buckeye and Bucko scored again in the next inning and it could have looked even bleaker for the Eclipse had it not been for a remarkable sight. Returning to play in the field nearly a year later, Toes conjured up the youthful spirits and made an improbable sprawling catch near the right field line. Most likely ignoring the medical advice of his physician, Toes chased down the eventually landing of the sure extra base hit and rose to the top of his bare feet accompanied by the applause of the players and cranks alike. Letters and words that this author may try to put together to do justice for the play would fall short of capturing it. Despite the play it looked like the Northville club would fall victim to unresponsive lumber on their behalf once again.
However, their experience and tenacity served its purpose on this day as the Eclipse dug deep and singled in eight of nine at bats which resulted in seven runs and an improbable 11-9 lead. It was a spectacle to see as black and orange circled the bases in a frenzy show not seen since their travel up to Richmond. The cranks would surely not leave disappointed as once again the Union club reached back and tallied two in the ninth inning to even the score. Having battled back from such a large deficit, the Eclipse now had the opportunity to seal the victory in their half of the ninth. Louie connected with a one out hit and moved to third on a perfectly placed hit to right by Rev. Needing to direct the ball one more time to the right side as he had done in his four previous plate appearances, Jaundice obliged and the result was the completion of an incredible comeback victory. Leading the way offensive for Dexter was Buckeye who hit safely in all six plate appearances and scored three times and Bucko who also scored three times. The Eclipse were led by Cuppa who collected four hits, two tallies and two assisted tallies. Also driving in two runs for the Eclipse were Goose, Jaundice and Rev, who also managed to thump out three more hits.
A standard humid August day greeted the visiting nine from Historic Fort Wayne on the grounds of Ford Field. Led by their captain, Snurek, the Early Risers returned to Northville after a small hiatus and showcased their young talent for the game that left those who witnessed it certain that their future looked promising.
The advantageous coin flip allowed the Eclipse to stretch their legs on the field of green first and working in haste, Stitch, retired the first three Early Riser strikers in succession. The Eclipse tallied on their first approach to the plate when Frisco sought refuge at second after a well-placed strike to the left side of the outfield. He was rewarded the continuation of his trip around the bags when TinMan walked to the plate. Like a preacher extolling a sermon on the holiest day of the week, TinMan served his weekly contribution to the delight of the masses. Retribution would be costly for the Eclipse as they failed to plate another tally in the inning despite a “Full Eclipse” and it would be an inkling of fate to come. The Early Risers would eventually tie the match in their third inning with the help of a double from Stranger and assist from Mad Dog that would plate him. An inning later, singles from Hickory Stick and Snurtek, would prove costly in the Eclipse attempt to keep all things square. With two hands retired, Pokey lofted a seemingly innocuous fly to right that played to two tallies. Meanwhile, the Northville bats failed to direct safe passage for any balls out of reach from the capable hands of the Early Risers. Fine fielding from both clubs prevented striker after striker from writing home about their success at the plate and allowing either club to rest comfortably. Such an occurrence was witnessed in the fifth frame when Scally lofted a sure-fire hit above second base and in front of the mid-fielder. Time clearly stood still and Bender, not needing any further assistance in coming out of his already tattered high button shoes, chased down the ball and plucked it from the air after one bound before a certain second meeting with the earth. As if his club needed any more reason to be proud of him, Bender wasn’t quite done with his prowess on the diamond. Mad Dog fell victim to a ground ball up the middle of the diamond that Bender somehow impeded movement with his legs and proceeded to hurl a perfect hop of a strike to first. Runners indeed were at a premium and fortunately for the Detroit club they found favor with four consecutive singles. Hatchet and Hickory Stick scored on assists from Snurtek and Stranger and the Early Risers lead was up to four. The Eclipse continued to make solid contact and as was the case when Stitch launched a cannon ball of a shot between the left and center fielders. Normally not playable and destined to test the stamina of a runner as he traverses across the diamond, Pokey shed his handle and gave life to his alter ego … Spirited. Describing the effort as outstanding would lack proper evaluation. Running down the path of the ball from his position in left field, Pokey sprawled out in one last effort to his left to snare the ball before it passed him and lay exhausted on his back in the dirt to collect his bearings. The distant cheering for his effort was tempered in his head with the sure rattle he obtained. Even two out doubles by Frisco and Jaundice in successive innings couldn’t amount to plating another run for the Eclipse as the Early Risers earned the victory, five to one.
Amid the pomp and circumstance that is a match among the grounds at Greenfield Village is the daunting task of facing their home club … the Lah De Dahs. The field at Walnut Grove nestled down the hill from some of America’s historic buildings served as the setting for a game of base ball. Lead by the joyous and mesmerizing tunes of the Dodworth Saxhorn Band, the ballists marched their way through the village greeting the cranks and sharing their good will. The Greenfield club of nine continued their march when they picked up their lumber and began to strike first. Soapdish, Stonewall and Whistler began the afternoon with singles and Checkmate ended the scoring for the inning with the aid of a misplayed ball by Frisco in center. An inning later Red Beard scored on a single by Beast, but the scoring was limited as Frisco redeemed his play from the previous inning with a sprawling catch up the hill in right center off the bat of Stonewall and doubling up Soapdish at first base. The third frame showed the depth of the Lah De Dah club as five consecutive singles and a double by Rudy all with two hands retired resulted in five more tallies. Meanwhile the Northville club stayed unproductive with the bats and offered playable offerings to the infield and less challenging flies to the outfield. The Lah De Dahs continued to entertain the large contingent of cranks that had gathered along the hillside and near the wooden fence behind the teams. There was a brief moment of confusion when a few wandering souls lost their whereabouts and stumbled across the playing field. Oblivious to the enjoyment of those gathered to watch this great sport, they regained their bearings after a few minutes and a stoppage in play determined to seek their new adventure in the new country. Even the activist moves of a few could not cool off the Greenfield sticks in the warm sun. Polska and Beanpole joined Stonewall in the scoring as they increased their lead to twelve tallies. Not one averted to scoring, Stonewall tallied again off a well struck two bagger from Whistler that even his mom would be forced to leave her chair and applaud.
The Eclipse finally gave the tally keeper something to stretch their legs on as Stitch singled with two hands retired and Frisco plated him with a double over the head of the mid fielder. This little momentum carried over to the top of the next frame as once again Frisco doubled up on the outs in center from a well struck ball by Soapdish in almost the same area as earlier in the game and converting to stop the Beast lumbering to first. The seventh frame saw TinMan open the inning with a single, followed by a Bender double and Jaundice single. However it was a hard hit single by Cuppa that perked the Eclipse bench and tallied two while two strikers later Louie arched another well placed single that plated Jaundice. Unfortunately for those cranks that donned the orange and black that day, the Northville club would score no more and give little to become joyful over. The Lah De Dahs would tally four more and best the Eclipse club by a total of 17-4. Offensively the Lah De Dahs were led by Stonewall who tallied four, Checkmate who assisted in four tallies and four hits apiece from Whistler, Checkmate, Red Beard and Beast. The Northville club, who dropped their second straight match, was led by Cuppa’s two tallied assists and seven ballists who registered two hits each. A date with the Early Risers awaits the Eclipse at the end of the month.
A week after their bats were stymied for a season-low 5 hits, the Northville squad came out of their hive intent on stinging the horsehide. The result was 45 hits in their first encounter with the second year club out of Richmond, Michigan. The Eclipse trekked northeast and found themselves in a quick hole after the Bees introduced them to their home and all its perks. They swarmed to a six run first inning led by one out doubles from Boo, Pee Wee and Catfish. Having given much exercise in the pursuit of the sphere, the Eclipse gathered themselves before their attempt at striking and took notice of the wise words from their captain, Stitch. Aided by sometimes erratic offerings from the hurler, Northville strikers stayed patient in their stance and chose wisely in their mighty swings. After a fielder’s choice from Mac scored Frisco and a walk to TinMan that is nearly as rare as an actual Solar Eclipse, the bats of Northville laid claim to eight consecutive hits resulting in ten runs. A quick retirement of the Richmond strikers in the following inning gave proper rest to the Eclipse fielders and in turn they continued with their solid connection of leather and wood finding open placement among the terrain. Eleven more aces were tallied and soon the Eclipse would give more attention to proper fielding in the grass, dirt, crevices and slope of the land all while serving notice to the wind. This is precisely what resulted as nary a Bee runner was successful crossing the plate as they had shown in the first frame. Five consecutive innings of unrewarding striking for the Bees finally gave worthwhile results when Daisy Cutter and Moose plated runners with singles.
Not to be overlooked by their impressive outburst with the bats, the Eclipse continued to demonstrate their one true principle … fielding. The return of Bender at short stop and Rev at third provided stability among the other fielders in the ball field. Many a challenge was presented to the left side of the diamond only to be fielded cleanly and bring great despair upon the striker. Such an example of lost hope occurred in the eighth inning when Big Mac of the Richmond club delivered a red hot ball that Bender, being the corker that he is, aggressively handled and returned the ball towards first with as much force that the wind was unable to slow it down to Louie’s dismay. The sound of the leather ball being abruptly stopped in its flight to first base by Louie’s hands can be reenacted by listening to the sound of a crop meeting the side of a horse. Astonishing play was not only limited to the infield. Chip demonstrated her speed and arm once again in the final inning when a high flier off the bat of Boo sailed over the head of a tumbling Frisco. Chip retrieved the ball near the trees and proceeded to launch a perfect strike to Bender who relayed the throw to home where Boo was headed but had yet to arrive.
The Richmond club was led offensively by Pee Wee and Catfish who collected three hits apiece. Catfish also assisted in two runners reaching home safely as well as Daisy Cutter. For the Northville club, eight players accounted for four hits or more apiece, of which Rev and Louie had five and Bender led the way with six. Louie also assisted in four runs as did Mac and TinMan.
Amid the powder blue sky and low white clouds, a friendly game of base ball transpired on the Ford Field grass in Northville, Michigan. Our friends from Chelsea traveled east and settled in for what seems to be a ritual meeting of blue collar base ball. Runs are always at a premium between these two clubs and today was no exception. The Monitors won the toss and chose to field first behind the capable pitching of Crusher. What seems impossible, proved feasible for the hurler as he baffled, befuddled, frustrated and quieted the normally prolific Northville bats.
On the field, both teams showed quick hands and correct defensive placement to thwart any possible initial scoring. Scoreless after three innings, the Eclipse were able to tally the first and their only run on a lead off single by Frisco. With one hand retired, Mac moved him over to third with his second hit of the game. TinMan stepped up to the plate and although things looked ominous for the Monitors, Moonlight calmed their fears with a brilliant grab in right center. Maybe the ball grew weary in the heat as it traveled that distance, but in any case what seemed like a two-run extra base hit resulted in one run for the Eclipse and two hands retired. After a Jaundice grounder, the side was retired. Inspired by his teammate’s play, Pistol released a one-hand shot into deep left field and quickly covered 270 feet. Two strikers later, Quickstep evened the scoring at one tally apiece with a perfectly placed hit over TinMan’s outstretched arms at third. Realization was beginning to settle in that this was going to be a competitive match again. Three and a half more innings passed without the successful navigation of another striker across all four bases, until the Monitors’ E Rev, while standing at third base with two outs capitalized on an errant pick off attempt. Such are the moments that decide close games and the Eclipse fell behind for the first time that afternoon. It was all the Chelsea club would need as Crusher continued to hurl hittable ball after unhittable result. The base ball gods alone may have refused a sacrificial lamb if sent to them as his offerings were downright impious. The Northville club managed to collect five hits while the Chelsea club struck ten. The Eclipse were led by Mac who recorded three hits, including a double while the Monitors were led by Quickstep and Honest Jon who registered three hits and two hits respectively. On the defensive side of note for the Monitors, eight of the thirteen bound outs were fielded by Moonlight in center and various parts of Wayne county.
A clash between the Tecumsehs and the Eclipse almost didn’t come to fruition because of the threat of another ominous rainout as the weekend began. However, clear skies descended upon the patch of grass located on the northwest side of Griswold and East Main streets and a field of nine was assembled by the Northville club while London gathered a team of eight. The Tecumsehs tallied two in their first striking attempts courtesy of a Vice single to left. In response on their bottom half of the inning, Cuppa plated Frisco after his leadoff triple and the lead was cut in half after two batters. However, the London hurler was able to thwart any additional Eclipse scoring for that inning and his reward was two more runs in the following frame for the Tecumsehs and a 4-1 lead. Responding to their largest deficit of the season, the hickory wielded by the Eclipse began to strike fervently with the offerings made by the hurler and resulted in three consecutive tallies for the Eclipse. The match was all square. Normal response would dictate a rebuttal in runs from the Tecumsehs, but silence fell upon them as swiftly and abruptly as a cold front from the North. The Eclipse continued to strike well. Such a display was proven when TinMan forcible positioned the path of a tossed offering from Crazy Legs directly opposite of its intention. Exercise was given to the legs of TinMan as he safely touched all four bags to the delight of the Eclipse side. An inning later and after short rest, history repeated itself. As Frisco staked claim to second base, TinMan retrieved him at the expense of another well-hurled ball and joined him in circling counter-clockwise until he touched home. Together with their well-established defense, the Eclipse had forged an 8-4 lead. A nearby crank witnessed the activities taking place on the field and was immediately given post by the visiting club. He immediately showed his prowess by methodically selecting a piece of wood among the many available and showed time was of the essence for him as he mightily swung at the second offering he saw. Winged birds failed in their attempt to measure up to the path of the ball and its eventually resting spot resulted in a delay while many searched its location. The nomad eventually tallied home followed by another runner and the Tecumsehs trailed 8-6. The squads alternated runs until the Eclipse plated four more runs in the eighth inning and walked away with a 13-7 win.
The Tecumsehs were paced offensively by Rhino, who reached base safely in four of five attempts, tallied once and assisted in three runs while Crazy Legs hit safely three times and tallied three runs. The fill-in ballist recorded two hits and two tallies in his brief amateur status, while also stealing a base and perhaps the eye of another team looking for unsuspecting talent. As for the Eclipse, both Stitch and Frisco tallied five hits apiece while Bender added fours hits, two tallies and two assists. LoneStar reunited with the Eclipse and offered four hits and three batted assists while TinMan returned to the lineup and served notice once again of his ability with four hits, three tallies and five batted assists.
Ford Field in Northville was once again the idyllic setting for a historical base ball match. The day began with a casual stroll along the sun-kissed streets of downtown Northville lined with thousands of enthusiasts celebrating the independence of this great nation. Laughter and good cheer filled the air as the participants waved and acknowledged the crowd, some even participating in an impromptu game of catch with Mac.
After player introductions, the visiting Wahoos from Royal Oak wasted little time in marking their name on the scoreboard. Blessed with speed normally seen on young colts, Sparky led of the inning with an infield single. Replaced on the bath paths with a fielder’s choice off the bat of Dizzy, the Wahoos brought up the iron of their order. The father-son duo of Mallet and Hammer moved Dizzy to third where Teufel was only too happy to oblige bringing him across the plate safely with a sharp single up the middle. And before the cranks had time to settle in, the Wahoos led the top of the 1st, 1-0.
Not wanting the Wahoos to set off all the fireworks, the Eclipse responded just as quickly. Leading off, Frisco and Mac recorded consecutive singles while Bender doubled and drove in the first Eclipse run. Hitting in the dubious fourth spot, Jaundice continued his yeoman service and delivered another double tallying two more and just like that the Eclipse led 3-1. Both teams continued to thwart run scoring opportunities with excellent defense until the Wahoos closed the gap in the 4th inning with Teufel once again sparking the scoring with a leadoff single and eventually tallying courtesy of a Mud Dog single. An inning later it was the Eclipse top of the lineup that once again ignited a 3-run inning. Three consecutive singles allowed the next three strikers of Jaundice, Rev and Doc to plate three more runs and after 5 innings the Eclipse held a 6-2 advantage. Offensively for both teams the remaining 4 innings were a dud in terms of scoring as strike after hurl was properly fielded and strikers were retired without making their passage back home. As a result, the Eclipse ended up securing the decision and enjoyed a hearty post match meal with their guests and friends.
The Eclipse were led offensively by Bender and Jaundice as they tallied 3 hits apiece while Jaundice led the team with 3 runs batted in. Frisco, Mac and Bender provided all the scoring for the Eclipse as they tallied 2 runs apiece.
Over a month since our last match, the Eclipse found themselves elated to once again take to the field in the game we all love. Convening with the Union Base Ball Club of Dexter, the Eclipse prepared Ford Field for the first time the season in hopes of being gracious hosts. Once again the fielding of the horsehide in the early innings for the home club set the tone for another well played match. The Eclipse tallied the first two runs in the first inning aided in large part to a triple by TinMan, who continues to show reckless behavior towards well-hurled pitches. TinMan followed up his first plate appearance with 5 more consecutive safe passages to first base while tallying three runs and assisting in two others. It was during the second frame of the match that resulted in the Eclipse bats producing tally after tally. Used to signify that a runner had safely traversed the diamond and returned home, the Eclipse bell echoed throughout the lush green field ten times in that inning. After TinMan, offensive production from the Eclipse once again came from Jaundice who collected 5 hits, 3 aces and 2 runs batted in. Bender, who also scored 3 times, teamed up with Frisco and Rev to assist in 3 runs apiece en route to totaling 21 tallies to Dexter’s 6. However as impressive as the Eclipse were while swinging the willow, it was their ability to field that drew most of the attention. Holding their opponent for the third straight match to six aces, the Eclipse proved that enjoyment can be found while retrieving the apple, whether hit hard or not. Jaundice demonstrated his ability as an artist in the second inning with a pluck of a falling ball off the bat of Legs to right and Rev followed that with his own feat at third on a stinger from Stats in the sixth inning that required a finger adjustment. However this match’s defensive highlight came as a result of the hustle and arm of Chip in the garden. Playing midfielder in the eighth inning and reacting quickly to another hard strike from Swede to the gap in deep right center, the sensational young ballist legged it to retrieve the two run-scoring hit and proceeded to throw a strike to Bender at second base and retire the advancing runner and the inning. Huzzah, Chip!
The Eclipse once again travel east into Canada this time for a match against the Woodstock Actives. It would be nice if the weather would cooperate since an earlier meeting this season had to be cancelled due to inclement weather.
The only thing more sweltering than the heat on Sunday was the sheer athleticism on display from both teams. On a day when Monitors captain, Honest Jon, deemed “slightly less humid than normal”, the Eclipse traveled west to take on the Monitor Base Ball Club of Chelsea in their home opener in front of another large contingency. The Monitors tallied first with the aid of a one-out double from Moonlight and then proceeded to shut down the mighty Eclipse bats in the bottom half of the inning. It was only an inning later that Jaundice continued his assault with the lumber that normally takes two people to lift. His scorching single to right gave the Eclipse their first lead on the day that they would not relinquish. A tally in the bottom of third from the Eclipse’s newest member, Louie, allowed a little breathing room only to see it choked down to one run again with the meat of the Monitors lineup in the top of the fourth. Frisco opened the Eclipse half of the fourth inning with a double and would eventually score on Mac’s first RBI of the season. A batter later, in what probably was the hardest hit ball of the afternoon, TinMan launched a searing drive to center that was eventually apprehended by the centerfielder while evading a tree, some may credit to Moonlight, but in reality was a ghost. As disappointing as that was for TinMan to not record a hit on that plate appearance, he nobly shrugged it off and proceeded to record the VBBA’s web gem of the week. Deke’s rocket towards third in the top of the sixth inning was plucked from the air faster than green grass goes through a goose. And he did so with one hand in a game we still play bare-handed! Huzzah! Because Crusher isn’t one to let the limelight shine away from him with a crowd on hand, he also demonstrated his ability to play defense with his very own one-handed grab in the 8th with a sinking liner off the bat of Gearhead. A remarkable defensive effort by both teams kept the game close. Offensively the Eclipse were paced by Cuppa, who went 3 for 3 at the plate with 2 runs scored. Also contributing with the hardwood with 2 for 3 performances were Louie, Bender and Jaundice. Stitch managed 2 RBIs and a solid combined pitching effort with TinMan. Next up for the Eclipse is a May 31 showdown with the Woodstock Actives who continue their annual meeting for the thirteenth consecutive year. This will be the home opener for the 2015 season at Ford Field, next to Mill Race Village in downtown Northville.