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.
Eight long months and another cold, blustery winter finally gave way to the true indoctrination of Spring … base ball.
Laying dormant beneath the snow for far too many days, Labatt Memorial Park came to life on Saturday, May 2nd with the setting of old, but congenial rivals … the London Tecumsehs and the Northville Eclipse. Blessed on this beautiful day, the spectators came to support the match and a benefit for the oldest building in London, Ontario. The Eldon House, which was celebrating its 180th year, was part of a scenic backdrop to the city nestled among trees and the Thames River. After a brief ceremony and winning the inaugural bat toss, the newly appointed captain for the Eclipse, Stitch, instructed his club of nine to strike first. His tactics worked as Frisco, leading off the season, started the game with a single. Three runs would tally in the inning, followed by three more in the second and the Eclipse’s bats started the season off quickly. Leading 10-0 in the sixth, the Tecumsehs scratched a run across and followed that effort two frames later with five runs to close the gap. It seemed as though the long journey had begun to settle in on the black and orange, but starting hurler, Tin Man, reached back in his closet of tricks and closed the door after 119 offerings. Aided by two aces tallied apiece from Chip, Tin Man and Doc, the Eclipse totaled 11 to London’s 6. All Eclipse Nine contributed in the scoring, including two runs batted in by the ballist formerly known as Whiskers. The Eclipse look to continue their good fortune when they travel to Timbertown to meet with the challenging Monitor Base Ball Club of Chelsea.
The Northville Eclipse Base Ball Club Plays America’s Favorite Game on 4th of July
Northville, Michigan — The Northville Eclipse Base Ball Club, a Metro Detroit vintage base ball team, will play during the 4th of July holiday at Noon against the Chelsea Monitors. The playing field is at Ford Field, adjacent to historic Mill Race Village at 215 Griswold St. in Northville.
The Northville Eclipse members include Len “Dutch” Baron, Larry “LoneStar” Bird, Chuck “Paddy” Burke, Dennis “Stitch” Haggerty, Jim Haggerty, Ron “Crusher” Klein, Dan “Mac” McEvill, Jason “Tex” Miller, Sue “Goose” Miller, David “Bender” Newhouse, Keith Polakowski, Natalie Polakowski, Al “Toes” Smitley, Carl “Doc” Szumlanski, Joe “Cuppa Joe” Tomassi, Greg “TinMan” Weidenbach and Julian “Frisco” Zendejas.
Vintage base ball is not only a competitive game; it’s a tribute to the sport and similar to an American Civil War reenactment. This version of the sport is considered a true gentlemen’s game without swearing, sliding, spitting or any sort of playing gloves.
The team also will be part of the Northville community parade. The Parade begins at 10:00 a.m. at the foot of Griswold and Main Street in Downtown Northville. St. Mary Mercy Hospital will be among the dozens of floats entered in this year’s Parade. Festivities begin with the playing the National Anthem while the Color Guard stands at attention.
The Northville Community Foundation will host the Parade for the 14th year and, once again, everyone is so very grateful to St. Mary Mercy Hospital for being the Event Sponsor.