It Was the Worst of Times, It Was the Best of Times

To tell the story of the final weekends of the Scouts 2017 Campaign? That lofty enterprise would require a full field of idioms, metaphors, and subtle exaggerations that no account could do realistic justice to. For Scouts Cranks it must suffice to hear the story of that journey in the familiar motif of an epic descent and return, for that is the manner by which the story of the recent exploits of the Stewart’s Creek nine might best be related.

The saga picks up with our last dispatch, which related how much was ventured but nothing was gained or revealed to the Scouts in their late summer twin tilt with the Brentwood nine. Their position in the Cup seedings remained undecided after a split pair of matches to that plucky Traveller Club; and so the Scouts found themselves embarking on another rigid ascent up the Cumberland ridge, only to face the daunting descent hitherward to the Sixth Cavalry grounds.

At this point the Scouts, though hopeful, could be forgiven for abandoning some of that hope as they faced off against the formidable Mountain City nine. This latter bunch, having tasted nary a drop of the bitter tonic of defeat over the course of the long campaign, were looking to cement their standing in league history as the Association’s first undefeated side. The Scouts had much to play for—most directly, a favorable seeding in the upcoming Sulphur Dell Tournament—and so were to slow to abandon those hopes as they entered those steamy grounds.

Their wizened leader, Uncle Jessie, did much to buoy the hopes of his motley band of ballist pilgrims. Despite his gentle Virgilian encouragement and, later, his overt cajoling, the Scouts showed little spirit. And so his side showed uncharacteristic clumsiness afield in the early frames and little punch at the dish throughout.

The result? Yet another victory to the Mountain City bunch, this one by a comfortable 8-3 margin, and so they seemingly drove yet another nail in the coffin of the Scouts’ once-promising season. As the last out was recorded the Chattanoogans exulted in their hard-won glories and the Scouts took another step toward the abyss, finding their spirits diminishing as their standing likewise dropped in the Association’s tables. The events of the following day, with the noble Maroons besting the formidable Farriers, would confirm what the Scouts most feared—that they’d miss their accustomed favorable positioning come tournament time.

Inhabiting then the depths of deepest despair, the Scouts turned toward the grim work of preparing themselves for the Sulphur Dell Cup, held this weekend past at the Carnton’s Plantation. For those unfamiliar with this gala event, it serves the Association’s yearly celebration of the Campaign’s conclusion, with all twelve clubs taking the field to determine the Cup Champion.

It is hard to tell what set the events into motion that led to the Scouts’ unexpected and, to them, exultant result. Some might credit to the events of the previous year, with that defeat by the Maroon nine. Some might credit it to those unfortunate developments in the Campaign’s later weeks, when the Scouts experienced some ill luck and also brought their misfortunes upon themselves with their errant play. Indeed, it was difficult to discern where the tides turned to orient fortunes of the Oaklands side favorably. It was perhaps even begun in the wake of the Chattanooga debacle, when a member of the local side brought a new family member into his home and—perhaps presciently?—bestowed the moniker “Scout” upon the young feline fellow.

The Newest “Scout”

Indeed, somewhere along the line the trajectory turned and the Scouts emerged from that season-ending Inferno of their own making, embarking upon a Purgatorial journey that would end with a small glimpse of the ballist’s moment in Paradise—that ever-elusive chance to raise the Cup in celebration of hard-fought victory. Denied the chance to experience that exultant moment last year, the Scouts likewise tested, and then tempted, the Base Ball Fates as they strode uncertainly toward this elusive goal.

The first obstacle stood in the form of the emergent Cumberlander Club of the Hermitage Grounds. Advancing their prospects with a succession of aces in the contest’s early frames, the Scouts looked toward their next foes as that contest reached its later stages. Alas, that glance ahead was premature, as their opponents plated seven aces before the butterfingered Oaklanders managed to record the final out in a 12-10 victory that was too close for any of their collective comforts.

A Formidable crew of Farriers were their next barriers, that bunch also looking forward to their own brand of redemption to close out their own successful season. Both sides approached each other warily, looking for that precise occasion to capitalize on a moment of weakness. And for the Scouts that moment came in their seventh inning, when Tick-Tock’s timely two-bagger recorded the two tallies needed to secure the win by a margin of eight tallies to the Farriers five.

With those two victories recorded, the Scouts gathered at the Associations grand ball that night ready to celebrate the successful campaign despite enduring their own collective purgatorial journey. Within those uncertain terrains the Stewart’s Creek nine still maintained the slightest shreds of faith in their own capacities and the slightest glimmer of hope in their prospects. Even as they celebrated the Bunyan’s (As In PAUL BUNYAN’S) reception of the side’s Most Outstanding Ballist award, the Scouts understood that yet another showdown with the mighty Mountain City Nine was in the cards. To a man they dutifully maintained the manners of celebration despite their collective tumult within, each mindful of the next day’s grim spectre, and each soon retreating to a night of fitful, uneasy rest.

To repeat: it is hard to tell when the Base Ball deities turned the Fates in the Scouts favor. But once those forces were set into motion, they stayed in motion. The dark gulf between the Scouts and their hopes seemingly grew to a yawning chasm that in their early innings of the next day, as the Chattanoogans took an early lead. But with their resolve and their tolerance for adversity tempered by the rigors of the long campaign, the Stewart’s Creek saw their chance to shed their collective history and accept whatever fates awaited.

To this end, the side battled back and gained uneasy advantage as the hard-fought, spirited contest proceeded toward its latter frames. A trio of aces was enabled with timely strikes by Mitts, Tick Tock, and Haybale, ensuring a margin that their mighty opponents were unable to surmount. More relieved than exultant in their 7-5 victory, the exhausted Scouts took to the shady barriers knowing that yet another motivated adversary—the Maroons—waited ominously in the wings.

It is hard not to find some fortuitous serendipity in those developments, as those two very sides had squared off in last year’s Cup final with the Maroons justly taking the grand prize. And yet, it is also hard not to note hints of a providential design in that contest’s result. For in last year’s final, the Scouts took an uncertain lead into the contest’s late frames, only to see their highest hopes undone by some timely strikes and stellar play afield by the Maroon stalwarts.

The 2017 Sulphur Dell Cup Champions

This year, however, the outcome would be different. Falling behind early, the Oaklands nine equalized with a single tally in the third frame. Fortuitously gaining and then padding their lead in the later frames, they remained fully aware of the likelihood of yet another Maroon onslaught. Though they drew blood continuously on this day, the Maroons’ mortal blow remained undealt as the Scouts clung grimly to the spectre of sweet victory, ultimately showing themselves unwilling to have the moment of glory wrested from them once again. Working through the same scenario as the previous final, this time the Scouts held their margin—and in their endeavors they shattered those mind-forged manacles that had previously separated the side from its ultimate moment. With the last out finally recorded in their 11-7 triumph, the Stewart’s Creek Scouts had thus forged a new identity—that of the 2017 Sulphur Dell Cup Champions.

The Final Tally

Readers throughout history have marveled at the detail, symmetry, and message of Dante’s Divine Comedy. But few readers have ever wished it any longer. In that spirit we’ll append our closing to this too-lengthy account, remarking also that as Dante’s Pilgrim emerges from his epic journey, in which he’d encountered both the depths of the abyss and the elusive glimpses of ultimate promise, and from which he yet returns to the world, he becomes mindful of the new responsibilities demanded of him. So too do the Scouts also realize that new mandates emerge from their unlikely triumph, recognizing also the duty, now doubly imperative, to assert the Association’s values and to live up to its ballist’s credo.

Finally, as the attentions of sports cranks turn away from the newfangled sport of base ball and toward the more familiar interests of the sailboat races, the equine derbies, and the ars pugilistica, the Stewart’s Creek Scouts wish to thank their cranks and their opponents—their brother ballists—for their kind congratulations and good wishes, and also the Association for the grand campaign recently concluded. Likewise thankful for this moment of good fortune, the side will begin preparations for the 2018 Campaign, ready as always to remind all Association cranks and attendees of next year’s matches: “pro vestra exhortatione sellam aut stratum adduce et cibum libamentisque pro nutrimentum tuum.” See you next Spring!

The Old Man Joins Tick Tock in Celebration


Twin Tilt at Oaklands Reveals Nothing!

“Nothing, My Lord.”

As poignantly as Cordelia’s reply to her oblivious father, the heedless King Lear, sums up the more nuanced messages of Shakespeare’s eponymous play, the muted strains of nothingness reverberated as resoundingly in the wake of the recent outcomes of the Scouts-Travellers matches this Sunday last at Oakland’s park. On that day, as the locals prepared to do battle with their designated rivals, their cranks hoped at least for clarity and resolution in equal parts—a pair of victories by either side would send the victors toward the first positions in the league standings, doing much to clarify the Association’s tables and establish the pecking order for the upcoming Sulphur Dell Cup Tourney; meanwhile, a split outcome to the pair of matches would muddy the picture and leave much to be determined in the campaign’s final weekend.

Curiously, “Nothing” is a matter of consequence within Shakespeare’s tale of Lear’s tortured attempt to endow his fractious progeny with his lands and fortune. Less curiously, “Nothing” also emerged from the resolution of this weekend’s “twin tilt” between Traveller and Scout at the Oaklands grounds this Sunday past. For though both sides ventured much—and had much invested—in the outcomes of these pair of matches, both also found the outcomes to these contests highly unsatisfactory. Both sides pined for clarity, and alas, both were left seeking resolution. Much was sought after—and nothing was revealed, gained, or achieved.

In the flaxen sunshine the mid-morning opener, it seemed to those assembled that the Scouts would gain some measure of clarity about their post-season prospects. With their stingy defense the locals yielded “nothing” to their visitors, a seeming fluke given that the Travellers customarily wield potent willows. Plating a quintet of aces in the fifth frame, the Scouts were able to continue to hold the Brentwood nine at bay with their stout defense, which featured Haybale’s acrobatic grab of a well-hit salvo in the deep reaches of the center pasture and, to his right, the Kid’s steady gathering of a series of well-struck onions. Single aces recorded in the seventh, eighth, and ninth frames led to the final result, an 8-0 Scouts whitewash over their rivals. From the dish the effort was led by the Kid, who secured four base strikes and registered a pair of tallies. With these heroics he was awarded the game mall as the match’s most formidable ballist.

With this result recorded, it seemed to all that the Scouts had gained some sharpened vision about their prospects for the Cup, scheduled for September’s second weekend. Both sides then took to the outer grounds, yielding the pitch to the Cumberlander and Quickstep Clubs, whose parries and jousts resulted in an entertaining triumph for the Hermitage nine. With that contest in the books the Scouts and Travellers returned to the fray, the former club seeking greater certainty about their immediate future and the latter aspiring to elevate their level of play to its customary high standard.

Alas, despite the earlier favorable result, what was ultimately revealed about the Scouts positioning within the league tables? Nothing. This uncertain result was determined by the stout play of the Traveller nine, who took to the pitch seeking vengeance. Having bested the Scouts in seasons past, they knew themselves to be up to the task of handling the Oaklands side on this occasion. In the first frame the Scouts plated four aces before recording an out, and the assembled cranks could be forgiven for looking toward another victory. But the formidable Brentwood bunch chipped away at this early margin, plating two aces apiece in their second and third innings. However, as the match proceeded the Scouts’ willows seemed to melt in the hot August son, and the Traveller offense was only slightly less dormant. The visitors managed a single tally in the fifth frame, but that single ace was all they needed as both sides stumbled toward the contest’s later innings. What did the Scouts achieve to rectify this deficit? Nothing. What were they able to do to put victory in their grasp? Nothing. With this final outcome, what had been revealed about the state of the Association’s tables with the Sulphur Dell Cup in sights? Nothing. Much was ventured this Sunday past—but nothing was gained: Cordelia’s forlorn words to Lear likewise cast a pall over the steamy Oaklands grounds: “Nothing, my lord.”

Recognizing that their day had ended with nothing achieved, ascertained, or revealed, the Scouts congratulated their victorious opponent and then set their sights on the campaign’s remaining contest. And this final tilt will require a trip across the Cumberland summits and down across the state line, where the Oaklands nine will take on the undefeated Mountain City Club of Chattanooga on the 6th Cavalry grounds. This side, needing a single victory to secure a perfect campaign, will remember the sound drubbing they were subjected to, at the hands of the Scouts, during the Cup weekend last fall. So this bunch will also have vengeance on their minds as they take to the pitch against the Stewart’s Creek side. It is hoped that the Scouts are able to replace this “nothing” for something more substantial as they approach the campaign’s penultimate weekend.

Pro vestra exhortatione sellam aut stratum adduce et cibum libamentisque pro nutrimentum tuum.” Bat toss at 2:30. Hope to see you there!

Stewart’s Creek Nine Gets a Bump, Returns From Hermitage Grounds Victorious

Having tasted in nearly equal measures the sweet nectar of triumph and the ashen tonic of defeat in the first half of the Association’s current campaign, your Stewart’s Creek Scouts ventured once again to the hallowed grounds of the Hermitage Plantation to do battle with that venue’s home side, the Cumberlander Club.

The locals, having found their form in recent matches, looked to gain quick advantage on the Scouts, electing to strike first after winning the bat toss. For a brief moment this unorthodox stratagem seemed to suit the Cumberlanders’ plans, as they tallied two quick aces in their first inning. However, on this steamy July afternoon the Scouts were delighted to welcome back two familiar faces to their struggling side. Mitts was greeted warmly, his return especially celebrated when he took to the dish in the first frame and unleashed a mighty two-bagger to clear the sacks. Bumpy was also welcomed back to the fold, showing his pleasure with his return by striking two timely base hits and scoring an ace himself. Their roster filled for the first time in a long while, the Scouts seemed to elevate their play as a full side, soon regaining the lead. Their good fortune on this day was confirmed more strongly, however, as they took to the dish in their third inning.

In that big inning was the word. And for the Stewart’s Creek bunch, that word was “strike.” So struck the Scouts in that third frame, sending successive salvos to all fields and speeding around the sacks, recording thirteen tallies and surely establishing a club record for offensive prowess within a single frame. Indeed, the side also registered thirteen consecutive base strikes and soon jumped out to a commanding lead against the Hermitage home side. With that margin thus established the Scouts found themselves in that rare occasion where they might gain practice in holding their lead, an effort that proved successful as the contest progressed toward its later frames.

When the last out was recorded the Stewart’s Creek nine found themselves victorious, having plated twenty aces to the Cumberlanders’ six. With that successful outcome the Scouts improved their campaign’s record to a total of five triumphs against three defeats. Though buoyed by this result, the side awaits stern tests in the coming weeks. Even so, they hope to maintain their winning habits against two strong sides, the resurgent Farriers of Franklin and the always formidable Traveller Club of Brentwood.

This effort might be enhanced, or perhaps even complicated, by the fact that the Stewart’s Creek side take to the pitch at a new home venue: The Oakland’s Mansion, near the heart of Murfreesboro. Though our ball game has appeared on the local scene only recently, these familiar grounds have been among the first to feature acrobatic ballists deftly striking salvos and fielding speedy onions. The side is delighted to call this space home for the foreseeable future, and the Scouts hope to treat their cranks—old and new—to some days of spirited base ball. The first contest at Oaklands falls on July 30th (vs. Franklin), and a date on August 13th (vs. Brentwood) follows soon after. For those taking in our grand new game as a new experience, we offer this sage advice: please bring a chair or a blanket for your comfort and victuals and libations for your amusement. Bat toss at noon. Hope to see you there!

Machinists Gear Up on Scouts in Second Eastward Sojourn

The Stewart’s Creek Scouts once again journeyed eastward this Sunday past, this time to do battle with the Machinist Club of the Emmett Company. This was the second trip to the Appalachian foothills for the Scouts within the past month; having met with success in the first outing to Knoxville’s Ramsey House Grounds, the Scouts knew that good fortune would have to turn events in their favor if they were to return to the mid-state region with another victory.

Though they won the bat toss, the Machinists took the unorthodox step of electing to strike first, thus attempting to secure initial advantage. And so they did, plating a pair of tallies to set the tone for a back-and-forth, see-saw match. The Scouts replied with a single ace in their half of the first frame and registered three more in their third innings; and as the contest’s middle frames approached the two sides exchanged leads, seemingly with each passing inning. As the final frame approached the sides were deadlocked in a 9-9 tie, and the Scouts looked to turn fortune to their favor in their final at-bats.

Alas, the Stewart’s Creek nine were unable to push across that decisive tally. Recording stylish “naughts” in both the ninth and tenth frames, the Scouts took to the pastures in the top half of the 11th inning hoping to prevent the Emmett side from gaining advantage. Despite some vaunted efforts in both the inner and outer pastures, however, the locals secured two aces which ultimately led to the final result, an 11-9 triumph. Both sides had competed gamely in the withering June heat; and with the final out recorded the Scouts congratulated their victorious opponent and then retreated to cooler spaces where they had secured post-game libations for their nourishment.

The Scouts enter the Association’s mid-season hiatus as the very embodiment of inconsistency. Having alternated between stellar and listless play throughout the season’s first half, the Stewart’s Creek side remains committed to putting forth their best efforts in the campaign’s remaining contests. These will commence on Sunday July 16th at the fabled Hermitage Grounds, where the waterlogged Scouts were bested on their last visit. For this next visit the Scouts will hope for conditions more suited for base ball and will hope to emerge triumphant against the Association’s newest club, the Cumberlanders. This side, having tasted the sweet nectar of victory in its most recent contest, will be primed and ready for action against their newest rivals. Those cranks who wish to attend are encouraged to observe this ancient credo: “pro vestra exhortatione sellam aut stratum adduce et cibum libamentisque pro nutrimentum tuum.” Bat toss at noon. Hope to see you there!

Scouts Successful in Eastern Sojourn

Tennessee as a whole is divided into three parts, with each region being defined by its own distinctive landscapes and customs. To the west one finds flat and arid lands; while the inhabitants here are known to play base ball, the Association’s reach has yet to extend here. The majority of the Association’s clubs are found in the state’s middle regions, and on a given summer weekend here the knowledgeable crank is able to find a spirited contest close by—at the Statehouse Grounds, for example, at Mansker’s Station, or perhaps on the pitches of Carnton or Rippavilla. In the current campaign, however, the strongest clubs have been located in the hillier provinces of the state’s eastern region; and it was to this quarter that the Stewart’s Creek Scouts journeyed this Saturday past, traversing the Rivers Obed, Clinch, and Holston in anticipation of a stern test against the formidable and undefeated Holston Club of Knoxville, so named after the aforementioned river.

This first part of the journey having been completed, the Scouts took to the Ramsey House pitch to face off against locals, mindful of their strong record and reputation for skilled play. Boasting members of most glorious repute and well known for their skills both at the dish and in the pastures, the Holston nine had reason to be confident. Indeed, the depleted Scouts had enjoyed only limited success in recent contests, having lost two of their previous three matches. Moreover, with only eleven of their number making this eastward trek, their roster was diminished. Knowing that their successes depended upon timely and consistent work with their willows, the Scouts hoped to tally their aces by stringing together consecutive strikes.

This plan for the match thus established, the Scouts then found themselves able to carry it forward in the very first frame. Upon winning the bat toss, the Knoxville nine elected to take the field while the visitors took to the dish in hopes of plating some aces and building a lead. Their hopes first buoyed by the Scotsman’s two-bagger, the Stewart’s Creek nine then exulted as timely hits by Tick Tock, The Kid, Long Shanks, and Haybale resulted in a trio of aces. Carrying these high spirits into the field, the side then displayed some nifty work in gathering their onions and keeping the formidable Knoxville batsmen off of the sacks. A pair of two-tally frames, in the third and fifth innings, enabled the Scouts to open up their lead by a wider margin, and quintet of decisive strikes in the sixth frame propelled the side to a comfortable twelve-ace margin. Indeed, in a contest in which their successes depended greatly on striking the onion squarely and in a timely fashion, the Scouts’ grand work with their willows on this day was noteworthy. A pair of aces in the ninth frame yielded the final margin: Scouts 14, Holstons 0.

And the side’s grand work did give brief pause to Uncle Jessie, the Scouts battle-hardened commander, who implored his club throughout to maintain their focus on the contest at hand even as their lead grew. Expecting to have their hands full against such a strong club, the Scouts, thus made aware by their Captain’s wise words, realized that they were fortunate on this particular day to face an ever-gentlemanly Holston bunch that maintained their good natures despite being out of their best form. Here again we see the quixotic nature of this new grand game, the Scouts benefiting once again from the machinations of the base ball fates. The side was likewise buoyed by the stout work at the dish by the aforementioned quartet of strikers, with Haybale earning the game ball by virtue of his timely striking and grand play in the pastures.

This unexpected but welcome result thus recorded, the Scouts returned to the familiar terrains of the state’s middle region. Here they are slated to square off in two weeks’ time against a familiar sectional rival, the Travellers Club of Brentwood. In like possession of a record of four victories against two defeats, this nine will be primed once again to give the Scouts a stern test as both clubs vie for spots near the top of the Association’s standings. The contest, scheduled for the 18th of June, will take place at the Ravenswood grounds. The bat will be tossed at 2:30. Those cranks interested in attending do well to remember this ancient proverb from the Roman world: “pro vestra exhortatione sellam aut stratum adduce et cibum libamentisque pro nutrimentum tuum.” Hope to see you there!

Scouts Persist; Distillers Desist

Under skies that threatened rain but never quite broke, the Stewart’s Creek Scouts took on the Distillers of the Highland Rim this Past Sunday. On this steamy day, the hot and heavy air likely accounted for a low-scoring, highly defensive contest. Still, the teams persisted. By virtue of a quartet of timely aces, tallied at strategic moments throughout the match, and with some stout defensive play on the damp and grassy turf, the Scouts ultimately triumphed by a score of 4-1.

The contest will likely be the side’s final ball match to be played at the storied grounds of the Sam Davis Home. It was fitting on this day that the Scouts would square off against their old rivals, the Distillers, who have proven their competitive starch in seasons past. In keeping with its highly defensive character the contest proceeded rapidly, with both clubs exchanging good-natured jests and showing grand play afield as the innings passed. Scoring single tallies in the first, fourth, seventh, and eighth frames, the Scouts built a small lead which held until the Highland Rim bunch plated a single tally in the final inning, thus accounting for the result.

The winning effort was led by Tick Tock and the Scotsman, the former showing grand form at the short scout position and the later wielding a fearsome willow throughout the match. The fine trio of pasture-minders, Shanks, Hay Bale, and Dutch, also contributed fancy plays which helped to keep the opposition in check. Indeed, on a day when the damp sod and heavy air kept many of the strikers out of their top form, the Scouts’ play afield proved essential to the final result.

Accustomed to prolonged perambulations, the Scouts enter the middle section of their season facing a pair of sojourns to the foothills of Appalachia, where they will take on both Knoxville teams during the month of June, sandwiched around another visit to the Ravenswood grounds. The return of the Stewart’s Creek nine to Rutherford County is slated for late July, and as that date approaches a representative from the side will reveal the location of their remaining home matches.

For now, however, we’ll end with this reassuring reminder: should you wish to join the Stewart’s Creek bunch in their immediate travels, please bring chairs and blankets for your comfort and victuals and libations for your nourishment.

Phoenix Prove Fiends to All! And Bothers to Each and Every Scout!

Scouts vs. Phoenix—what’s brought to the mind of the zealous crank? Competitive zeal? Yes. Gentlemanly deportment? Yes. Anticipation of a low-scoring, defensive-minded base ball grudge match? Most definitely.

And so the occasion certainly did not disappoint, this Sunday last, at the State House Fairgrounds. For on that occasion your Stewart’s Creek Scouts took to the pitch once with again with their ancient and noble adversaries, the Phoenix Club of East Nashville, on a day that featured a back-and-forth match with both sides enthusiastically reclaiming the lead throughout. And so despite the reservoir of good will that is on display when these two clubs engage in spirited contest, the Phoenix once again, as is their wont and habit, thwarted the Scouts’ efforts to achieve a positive result: brothers, and yet bothers, in base ball battle.

With the Phoenix winning the bat toss and elected to strike second. In kind, the Scouts struck first, plating five tallies in their early innings and looking forward to adding more to that total. Alas, however, that goal proved elusive as the game reached its middle frames, with the East Nashvillians chipping away at the margin and ultimately cutting into the lead as the contest progressed. Stellar play afield was on display by both sides throughout the day, with the Phoenix pasture-minders ably toiling in the sylvan reaches of the Statehouse grounds. Meanwhile, the Stewart’s Creek nine showed some defensive ginger of their own, making equally acrobatic stops to secure needed outs.

In their seventh inning the Phoenix recorded the tying tally, and as the match progressed toward the final frames all assembled cranks bore witness to a tense, skillfully played contest. Plating a run in their half of their ninth inning, the Scouts needing to retire three hands to emerge triumphant. Alas, the Phoenix responded to the circumstance by placing runners about the sacks and securing the tying ace. The game’s final play, a closely-watched encounter at the first sack, turned toward the favor of the Phoenix nine and the Scouts were forced to admit defeat with the final ledger reading thus: East Nashville 9, Stewart’s Creek 8.

Despite this dispiriting result the Scouts still remain optimistic, with a return to their home grounds scheduled two weeks hence. That contest will pit the locals against another of their storied rivals, the Distillers of the Highland Rim. As always, any interested cranks are urged to bring a chair or a blanket for their comfort and victuals and libations for their nourishment. Hope to see you there!

‘Steps Stymie Soggy Scouts

On a day of downpours that would slake the thirst of Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, and one in which Father Noah himself would have found it difficult to navigate, your Scouts took to the pitch on Old Hickory’s fabled Hermitage grounds to engage in a nautically-tinged base ball contest against the Quickstep nine of Spring Hill. Like two schooners approaching each other in hesitant anticipation of battle, the two sides squared off on a dreary day, with neither showing much in the way of competitive zeal.

But alas, the contest must proceed. And proceed it did, with the Scouts winning the bat toss and electing first to take to the sodden grounds. Like young boys skipping pebbles from the shores of a swampy lake, the Quickstep batsmen rapped out a series of hits in quick succession, quickly placing runners at the sacks and subsequently plating three tallies. With the rally finally doused, the Scouts took to the dish and proceeded listlessly to chip away, striking the soaked onion to their favor and soon taking the lead by a single ace. So proceeded the contest toward the game’s middle frames.

The field sodden, the onion soaked, and the willows rendered slippery on this showery day, neither side was capable of displaying much in the way of athletic grandeur. Nor was much in evidence. For this was to be a day when base tenders struggled to grasp the slick onion nor would the willows strike it with much authority. With the twin idioms of sailing and saturation now established, it is appropriate to introduce a new deluge-themed motif to describe the events leading to the outcome.

And thus the floodgates opened up as the Quicksteps took to the dish in their sixth innings, their batsmen sending out soggy and elusive salvos to the Scouts various base tenders and pasture minders who, to a man, struggled to apprehend the now oleaginous and elusive onion. Indeed, the drenched sphere seemed to take on a mind of its own, showing its determination to evade the Scouts fielders and turn events against them. To their credit, the Quicksteps were quick to take advantage of these sloppy miscues while plating seven aces, a torrent of tallies that would prove an insurmountable margin. While the Sam Davis nine would chip away at this lead in the later frames, a pair of timely aces by the Quicksteps in the final inning would lead to the result, a 13-10 victory for the denizens of Spring Hill.

Drenched and disappointed in defeat, the Sam Davis bunch knew nevertheless that they were bested by a superior side. Emerging from their watery slough of despond, however, your Scouts will dry out, gather themselves, and move forward. Hoping for better playing conditions and renewed spirit with the advent of May, the side will take to the pitch at the grounds of the Bicentennial Mall on May 7. On that day they will oppose their old rivals the noble Phoenix Nine of East Nashville. The bat will be tossed at noon, and those wishing to attend are urged to bring a chair or a blanket for their own comfort and victuals and libations for their nourishment. Hope to see you there!

Scouts-Maroons! Rivalry Resumes!

To a man your Scouts are individuals of formidable character. Dutiful in their familial and social obligations. Embodying the virtues of noblesse oblige. Slow to take offense, level-headed in the face of slight, and quickly able to recover from the sting of defeat.

These qualities, which permit them to keep the events on the base ball pitch in proper perspective, also enable the Sons of Sam Davis to maintain resolve when facing the game’s more humbling moments: the well-struck onion skillfully gathered, resulting in the striker’s retirement; the well-tossed onion from the pastures, though too late to catch the swift base runner, thus permitting the opposing side to record the tally; the other side’s taking the day, the job then becoming to offer congratulation and then retreat to the margins. In this gentleman’s game of base ball, all are well-served when proper deportment prevails.

Unfortunately, your Sam Davis nine found it difficult to maintain their equanimity this Sunday last on their home grounds. For on this day they had much to fret about in anticipation of, and ultimately, much to celebrate in their triumph over their Old Rivals, the formidable Maroon Club of Nashville. Indeed, “it was the best of times, it was the best of times” for your Stewart’s Creek Scouts, who prevailed by the unexpectedly comfortable margin of 20 tallies to the opposition’s 8.

Indeed, the Scouts could hardly be anything but eager to resume their rivalry against the very club who had bested them in the Sulphur Dell Cup finals match by a mere three tallies this past September. This memory was perhaps in the back of the minds of the Sam Davis bunch as they took to the pitch against the visitors, mindful also of the specter of the spirited contest before them.

In its early innings the contest proceeded as expected, with both sides exchanging tallies and maintaining a close, razor thin margin. With some fortunate bounces working in their favor by the middle innings, the Scouts gained an advantage that they would never relinquish. Particular accolades are due to Dutch and Tick-Tock, whose adroit gathering of onions about the pastures complemented their speedy perambulations about the base paths. The Old Man contributed some grand work with the willow, directing timely and well-placed salvos toward landings just beyond the grasp of the Maroons’ base minders. The Slow Poke once again exposed his moniker for the falsehood that it is, rapidly scurrying around the base paths for a much-needed tally.

Highest compliments, however, are due to Mitts, who showed his skills afield with some nifty gathering of well-struck onions. And in the game’s later frames, he captivated ballist and crank alike with a mighty blast which reached the very edges of the Sam Davis grounds, netting a three-bagger and securing a pair of tallies that turned the contest decisively toward favor of the Scouts.

Deservedly exultant in their victory last September, the Maroons were equally gentlemanly in defeat this April, offering their congratulation and showing their own good-natured composure in the face this adverse result. Your Scouts are due brief pause to enjoy this victorious moment, but will be back on the diamond, ashen-faced and even-tempered, as the next contest approaches.

That contest will take place at Old Hickory’s fabled Hermitage grounds, and is scheduled for April the 23rd. Your Scouts will be taking on the emerging Quickstep Club of Spring Hill. This is a side that is more than capable of changing the Icarus-like trajectory shown by the Sam Davis nine in the campaign thus far. Having enjoyed the favor of the base ball gods so far in this campaign, the Scouts also understand the fickle nature of those diamond deities. To a man, the side will do well to display a most composed disposition as yet another stern contest approaches.

All Scouts cranks are encouraged to look for the dispatch that will be sent by rail as the date draws near. Those considering attending are urged to bring a chair or a blanket for their comfort and victuals and libations for their nourishment. Hope to see you there!

Speedy Scouts Circle Sacks

In temperament as much as in anatomical character, your 2017 Stewart’s Creek Scouts are seen generally as men of substance. Gravitas. Solidity. Formidability. In fact, many within their ranks show their fondness for the hopped and malted beverage, which perhaps contributes to this perception.  And while this tendency toward weightiness might serve them well within tense moments of a spirited base ball match, it seldom encourages swiftness afoot when those same ballists are seen circling the base paths.

So it is perhaps surprising that on a day when the Sam Davis nine were fortunate to strike the onion with their customary force and to gather it with uncommon skill, the most salient feature of their opening day triumph over the solid Lightfoot Club was found in their many hasty dashes around the sacks.  Indeed, while many of the more substantial Scouts are known customarily as base “runners” in the loosest sense of the term, they collectively demonstrated uncharacteristic dispatch and uncommon nimbleness in their perambulations around the inner diamond this Sunday last, efforts resulting in an 18-9 triumph over the noble Chattanoogans.

Their cranks are well aware of Tick Tock’s winged feet and Dutch’s comparable alacrity, and these Mercury-like features were certainly on display this Sunday last at Brentwood’s Ravenswood grounds. The Old Man showed some ginger about the base paths as well, and The Scotsman, no spring chicken he, was also seen stirring his stumps whilst moving between the sacks with characteristic frenzy.

However, such uncommon swiftness was shown by some of the side’s more “rooted” ranks.  Mitts sent a pair of mighty salvos out to the field’s deeper reaches and ended up with a three-bagger, which his teammates then celebrated with many a hearty whoop.  The Bunyan—as in Paul Bunyan—was unexpectedly cat-like in his perambulations around the diamond, at one point ending up on the second sack after pulling a wrong-sided liner toward the deepest reaches of the right pasture.  Perhaps now his alternate moniker—“the Puma”—will be invoked more routinely in future contests. Brass turned a regrettable moment—a clumsy stumble down the third base line–into a crackerjack show of deftness, scoring an improbable tally to the amusement of all.  Even The Slow Poke spent some time on the base paths as the innings proceeded.  An ace here, a few tallies there, a pair of four-spots here again—and so it went.  By the game’s middle frames the Scouts had opened a comfortable lead that the Lightfoot were, at least on this day, unable to surmount.

Such displays of pure agility are seldom demonstrated by the Sam Davis bunch, but it is hope that these results are the consequence of the rigorous off-season training regimen completed by all members.  Unrealistic expectations aside, however, the Sam Davis bunch was able to demonstrate some skilled play against a solid side and will look to continue this effort as the new campaign proceeds.

And proceed it will.  For this very upcoming Sunday your Sam Davis nine will be back on their home grounds, taking on their old rivals: the Sulphur Dell Champion Nashville Maroons.  The Nashville nine, coming off a season-opening triumph of their own, will help to establish whether the Scouts opportune speediness on the base paths is bona fide or whether it will be exposed as a mere fluke.

Those cranks wishing to attend this regular season opener at the Sam Davis Home are, as always, advised to bring a chair or blanket for their own comfort and victuals and libations for their nourishment.  The bat will be tossed at noon.  Hope to see you there!