We have just received word about the outcome of events at the Sam Davis Cup this Sunday last. And the word is good! Relieving the Red Caps of Huntsville of their gracious stewardship of the Cup, the Stewart’s Creek Scouts reclaimed that prize by virtue of their 8-3 victory over the visiting Alabamans. The match was well-played by both sides, and the Scouts’ efforts were helped greatly by Mitts’ stellar play afield. His nifty gathering of well-struck onions merited the awarding of the game ball, and both sides then saluted his fine day with rousing applause.
That final contest at the Sam Davis Home was enabled by the successes of the two teams earlier in the day. The opening contest featured those same Huntsvillians against the Noble Phoenix Club of East Nashville. In that contest the visitors demonstrated fearsome work with their willows and tallied their aces in bunches, resulting in their victory. In the second contest the host Scouts squared off against another club visiting from afar, the fine Bluegrass Baron nine, who had made the trip from Lexington, Kentucky. Though a close match in the early innings, the contest turned in favor of the Scouts in those later frames. A quartet of Scouts newcomers, including the Kid, the Hay Bale, the Old Man, and the Schoolmaster, all made noteworthy contributions to the victorious effort, and local cranks were seen to nod approvingly upon witnessing the play of these new ballists.
After those combative early rounds the spectre of competition gave way to the conviviality of fellowship, and all ballists there gathered—Phoenix, Baron, Red Cap and Scout alike—adjourned to a full table of tasty victuals. In addition to their stellar play the Scouts aforementioned newest members distinguished themselves on this day with their well-honed culinary skills, each contributing multiple succulent dishes of such quality to assure the popularity of the Sam Davis Cup tournament for seasons to come. Indeed, when the feast was concluded it was quite the wonder that the teams were able to take the field again to begin the next rounds. However, even with ballists’ appetites sated and their collective mobility compromised, their competitive fires were reignited as the afternoon’s matches commenced.
In the preliminary match to the final the Kentuckians displayed fine work with the willows and coasted to victory over the East Nashvillians, setting the stage for a return match between the Scouts and the Red Caps. Their cranks might recall how the Huntsville nine bested the Scouts on two occasions last season, first in their own tournament and then again in the Sam Davis Cup. Able guardians though they were, the visitors were relieved of their stewardship of the Cup as a result of the Scouts fine play afield and timely work with the willows. With the day’s prize changing hands at the contest’s conclusion, both clubs congratulated one another for their efforts and wished one another well for the upcoming season. All told, it was a grand day for the great new game of base ball on the Sam Davis grounds.
The Scouts, however, can rest on their laurels only briefly. On the second of April they journey to the Ravenswood grounds to open their season against the always-mighty Lightfoot Club of Chattanooga. This fine side contended for the league title through much of last year’s campaign, and the Scouts will surely need to be in fine form to emerge victorious. Those cranks wishing to make the journey to Brentwood are advised to bring a chair or blanket for their own comfort and victuals and libations for their nourishment. Hope to see you there!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for your 2016 Stewart’s Creek Scouts this past weekend at the Carnton Plantation, where ballists from across our Fine State had gathered to compete for the Association’s ultimate prize, the Sulphur Dell Cup. Having entered this competition as a fourth seed by virtue of their solid regular season play, the Scouts collectively understood that their road would be a difficult, if not impassible one if they were to taste the sweet nectar of victory. Hardened and made resolute by their season-long travels and travails, however, the Scouts marched through the early rounds by besting two formidable sides by impressive margins.
On Saturday, the Sam Davis bunch squared off against the noble Phoenix nine of East Nashville, an imposing opponent riding high in the wake of its season-ending success against the Association’s top clubs. Knowing that their gaining an early advantage would be crucial to the ultimate outcome, the Scouts tallied a single ace in the first frame and added five more in the second, thus beginning a veritable hit parade that would continue across the remainder of the match. While the gentlemanly Phoenix played with their accustomed grace, it was soon clear to all present that the Scouts would gain the upper hand on this day with their timely work at the dish and their solid efforts afield. And with the last out recorded, the Scouts were able to adjourn to the Association’s Grand Ball having advanced through the Cup’s quarterfinal round by virtue of their 19-5 victory.
The pleasant glow of victory, once illuminated, stayed for the moment with the Scouts as they awoke the following day to a harsher glare. Here they found themselves facing the Association’s regular season pennant winners, the redoubtable Mountain City Club of Chattanooga. Having seen their own Saturday quarterfinal match delayed by untimely rains, the noble Chattanoogans were perhaps put off their game by having to complete this contest against the scrappy Distiller Club of the Highland Rim in the bright lights of this early Sabbath morning. With that outcome recorded, the Scouts still knew that they would have to be in top form to offer challenge to the Association champions. And so it was! With Dutch showing grand prowess at the dish, and with Tick-Tock and the Elder, now a pentagenarian, providing their customary solid play in the pastures, the Scouts were able to dispatch the league champions by a surprising margin of 18-3.
And so the Sam Davis nine found themselves moving onward, to the Cup final! Having placed themselves within these uncharted terrains by virtue of their two earlier victories, the Scouts stood ready to tempt the Base Ball fates once more. For in this match their opponent would be none other than their long-standing rivals, the battle-tested Maroons of Nashville. Having narrowly triumphed over this side just three weeks prior, the Scouts knew that they would need to continue their resolute work at the dish while elevating their level of play around the sacks and in the pastures.
Alas, to hold the Cup in triumph, this proved an elusive vision. Indeed, though ‘twas a far, far greater season’s ending than the Scouts dared to hope for, it also was a far, far lesser outcome than what they might dare to have dream’t of. Even as the Sam Davis nine gained advantage with some early aces and solid play about the sacks, they seemed to lose their starch in the middle frames on the heels of some spectacular defense by the Nashvillians. Then, surrendering that early advantage after some close plays in the seventh frame, the Scouts were unable to replicate their prowess with the willows in those late innings and so were bested by their old rivals by a final tally of 11-8. Realizing that their luck had run thin, the Scouts were quick to offer congratulation to the victors and then stepped aside for the ensuing festivities. Alas, and to the victors went the spoils.
Even so, the Sons of Sam Davis have much to be proud of as they face the shorter days and colder nights of fall and winter; and to a man, the side has much to look forward to with the arrival of next season. But for now, they offer thanks to one another for a fine season and more importantly, to their cranks—to those who rooted for the Scouts through their season’s triumphs as well as their missteps—as, through the collective efforts of ballist and crank alike, the side elevated their expectations of themselves. And so we will all look forward to the tawny rays and verdant hues of early spring, when the quest begins anew. For now, the Scouts offer their thanks for your support and we hope to see you back at the Sam Davis home come spring!
Approaching their season-ending sojourn to Knoxville as hardened warriors of the road, the Scouts returned homeward this previous Saturday decidedly road-weary. Late and soon, the demands of season-long travel eventually proved too much for the Sam Davis nine. Squaring off against a stout Holston bunch just hitting their stride, the Scouts found their willows rendered punchless and their powers laid waste in the stifling Appalachian heat.
Their cranks, having shown the foresight in their journey to bring chairs and blankets for their comfort and victuals and libations for their nourishment, were nonetheless denied the “sordid boon” of electric play shown at times by the locals in contests past. Instead, they were treated to a rather torpid display of ballists “up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,” a side “out of tune” and off of its best game.
Indeed, little transpired throughout the contest to move the visiting Scouts or their cranks to rousing celebration on this steamy day at Ramsey’s “pleasant lea.” Oh, there were occasional and fleeting moments, like the pair of aces scored by Tick Tock and the Scotsman in the first frame, and the usual acrobatic efforts by that pair, respectively, in the center pasture and about the initial sack. Dutch provided the Scouts’ cranks with a brief thrill with a fine strike in the sixth frame, and Tick Tock did the same two innings later. But on this spiritless day there were otherwise no rousing Protean moments or blasts from Triton’s “wreathed horn.” Instead, despite some generally solid play afield the Scouts fell short of the higher standards set in earlier matches, and the Sam Davis bunch was left with little to do but to admit defeat to what was, on this day, a superior side. And so were they to congratulate the Holston nine, who prevailed by a 9-4 margin.
And before we abandon the lofty Wordsworthian idioms used in this account, let us hope for “glimpses” to make the Scouts and their supporters “less forlorn.” In fact, even though some spirituous jolts would have served the Sam Davis Bunch well, the Scouts found that their listless play did not serve to damage their standings within the larger Association’s rankings. Even so, they will be entering the Sulphur Dell Cup tournament facing the formidable Phoenix side. Having tasted both the sweet nectar of victory and the bitter ash of defeat to these East Nashvillians, the Scouts—to a man–are hoping for more “snap” and more “zing,” particularly at the dish, come tournament time.
That time will come at high noon on the 10th of September at Carton Plantation when the Sam Davis bunch takes the field in the preliminary rounds with their season in the balance. Having been primed by previous accounts about how to best prepare themselves for what will be a fine day of base ball, any cranks who wish to attend this match are likely familiar with the drill by now. Hope to see you there!
Twas a soggy day at Carnton, downpours threatn’ing to forestall
where Maroon and Scout had gathered for some spirited bae ball.
But finally the skies did open, and the ballists took the field,
trudging through the dampen’d grass as the rains at last did yield.
And with timely ace and well-made play, the Scouts took early lead
the Maroons kept matters close, however, as their innings did proceed.
After eight full frames, the match was close: the tally stood 6-4,
with each Scout afield determined to prevent any further score.
For through those eight frames their slim lead held—one thoroughly earned,
with timely ace and well-made play, fortunes to their favor turned.
With Mitts’ mighty blast and the Scotsman’s play, and Tick-Tock’s acrobatic feats,
and with Dutch securing his onions afield, the cranks rose from their seats!
But in later frames, through grit and guile, the Maroons set to even the score,
with timely strike and stellar play, they’d other plans in store.
So the mood was tense in that ninth frame as the Maroons took to the dish.
Their willows silenced in recent frames, the Scouts had but one wish:
With three more outs they would preserve their slim and hard-earned lead,
securing a grand triumph, a stellar win indeed!
Alas! For the Nashville nine, despite their grit, their moment was not to be.
For the Chief–hail Chief!–stood tall, with feats improbable to see!
For without that Keystone sacker’s doughty deeds of derring-do,
the Nashville nine might just have pushed a few more aces through.
Ranging left, and ranging right, snatching onions speeding past,
he made one final play—scarce to believe!—and retired the side at last!
And so was victory earned by the Sam Davis nine, to the wonderment of all.
But none turned sour or took offense when the Chief fielded another game ball.
Their fates thus then secure for yet another day, the Scouts have hearty shout.
The Maroons, though bested on this day, gave opposition stout.
And with these tidings thus recorded, we look forward to the week ahead—
to a lengthy eastern sojourn out to the Ramsey House Homestead.
Where the Scouts do battle this weekend next with the Knoxville Holsten nine,
a stout side now riding high in the wake of recent triumphs fine.
Those cranks who go to Ramsey house should chair or blanket bring,
As well as drink and victual—now that’s the perfect thing!
Their ranks depleted, the Scouts took to the road again this Sunday last to do battle with another stout side residing across the Cumberland ridge, the Lookout Club of Chattanooga, at the famed Cavalry Grounds. Having suffered a single defeat this season, the Lookouts had earned their lofty stature within the league as a formidable club who wielded fearsome willows and showed grand play afield. So the short-handed Sam Davis Bunch approached the contest in a grim frame of mind, one akin to that of the outnumbered English soldiers on the brink of combat at the famed battle of Agincourt in 1415. Drawing inspiration from those “happy few,” however, the Scouts recorded a victory that was every bit as unlikely and almost as impressive, marking this day, the 6th of August, as cause for their own version of the Crispian’s Day feast.
Winning the toss, the Scouts took to the pitch and promptly yielded three tallies to their hosts. However, across the rest of their innings the Lookout Club’s most formidable salvos were gathered by well-placed Scouts in the deep pastures. Also benefiting from some fine play about the sacks, the Sam Davis nine were, for the most part, able to prevent the locals from registering additional aces. And for their own part, the Scouts answered the early rally with a pair of aces in the first frame and with single tallies across the contest’s middle stages. A timely trio of aces in the 8th frame helped to establish the final margin of victory—9 for the Scouts, and 5 for the Lookouts.
In the glow of victory the Scouts took to the shady peripheries of the Cavalry Grounds to raise “flowing cups” and to recount deeds “freshly remember’d.” Joined by their gracious hosts, all found occasion to show their scars of combat–the sore limbs, aching hands, and empurpled digits that distinguish the battle-tested ballist. Here the Scouts were heard to remark amongst themselves that the successful result was achieved by virtue of efforts by the entire side. Even so, all were likewise in agreement that the Chief had earned the game ball for the victors by virtue of his timely gathering of well-struck onions about the keystone sack. Meanwhile, the Lightfoot, gentlemanly in defeat, joined other assembled denizens of the Cavalry grounds to offer congratulations and to enjoy the day’s second match.
Thus will the Scouts “remember with advantages what feats they did this day,” a day when they took to the field, wielded their willows, and gathered their onions admirably in order to emerge triumphant against such formidable opposition. Here it is worthwhile to mention their names and credit their contributions on this grand day for the Sons of Sam Davis: the Elder, Tick-Tock, and Long Shanks, whose stellar play in the outer pastures kept the opposition in check; Jessie and Corn Bread, whose fine hurling kept the Lookout batsmen at bay; Bunyan and Skeeter, whose stout duty behind the dish held the tenor in this march to victory; and the Scotsman, Bumpy, Brass, and especially the Chief, whose grand efforts in the infield enabled the Scouts to avoid the costly big inning.
Realists to the man, however, the Scouts will do well not to rest on their laurels. For in two weeks hence the side engages once again with their old rivals, the Nashville Maroons. That challenge, always daunting, will be made even more so because it will be played on the unfamiliar grounds of the Rippavilla plantation. So even as the campaign reaches its final weeks the Scouts’ meanderings continue, and they will need once again to be in their finest form to take on this imposing side. Those who have a desire to attend this event should expect a most spirited contest and are urged, as always, to bring a chair or a blanket for their own comfort and victuals and libations for their nourishment.
THE HERMITAGE, TN – As this Tennessee Summer presses forth into its hottest days, perhaps so too do the Scouts of Stewart’s Creek. For sure, in the Scouts’ latest match, the cranks watched beneath the large shady trees of Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage to watch the base ball club from Smyrna heat up right alongside the sweltering sun.
Having temporarily moved their home grounds from the Sam Davis Home to the Hermitage due to the unfortunate happenings earlier in the summer, the Scouts made their way along the lake to take on the visiting Machinists club from East Tennessee. Having bested the Machinists in years past, the Scouts themselves were coming off a difficult loss in Chattanooga and were not to take the next game lightly based on past performance.
Admittedly, the early morning heat was a common conversation piece among ballists on both sides of the grounds as they warmed long before the first pitch – with many of the players sweating during introductions as though they had already played a full nine innings. By the time the Scouts had been declared the home team with a Dutch victory in the bat toss, however, both teams were focused solely on plating aces across the dish – and the heat was just another of the field’s many oddities.
With the Scouts taking to the field first as the home team, the Machinists came to the dish ready and volleyed a number of line drives in between those ballists at the sacks and in the garden – and with a couple well-placed wormburners, the Machinists came out to a quick 2-0 lead before the Scouts could charge the third hand dead. The Scouts, however, haven’t tallied the second most runs in the league this season by giving up after early deficits.
Mayhaps the club felt the need to earn the sweat the cranks could see dripping from the brims of their bowlers in their first go at the plate, because the Lads of Summer came up to the dish with a determination rivaling that of Old Hickory himself. In fact, after a lead-off 4-bagger by Tick Tock, the Scotsman followed suit with a triple and was batted in on a single by Long Shanks. The hits kept coming as the Scouts made it all the way down the order and tallied a total of 5 across the dish by the time the Machinists could get out of the inning.
Having plated a number of aces in the first, the Scouts followed it up by playing stellar defense and continuing to whack the onion all over the Hermitage grounds, including long shots by both Bumpy and Mitts, who had a number of very important hits down the stretch of the game. In fact, if it could be said of any striker in the match, Mitts proved himself a clutch member of the squad in the later innings after the game had leveled out and become very close between two formidable opponents.
In the end, though, it was a combination of astounding defense and timely sequencing that led the Scouts to a victory over the visiting Machinists from East Tennessee. Had it not been for a few specific plays, including Iron Belly’s juggling catch behind the dish and Chief’s agile movement around the second sack, perhaps the Machinists tally a few more aces in the later innings and the match turns out differently. As it stands, though, the Scouts repeatedly conquered the heat and the moment with base knocks by every member of the squad – including late inning insurance from Cornbread and Skeeter Wells.
Ultimately, the Scouts pulled out a victory by the score of 15 – 12 and enjoyed the rest of the day under a rather large pine tree overlooking the grounds in which they had conquered.
The Scouts play next on the 6 of August in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia as they take on the elite Chattanooga Lightfoot club. The match is sure to be a doozy as the Scouts have suffered at the hands of defeat and enjoyed the fruits of total elation at the 6th Cavalry Grounds. You won’t want to miss how the club handles their chances this time!
25 July, 2016 – The Rutherford Herald
Their season-long wanderings continuing apace, the Scouts were travelers to the antique lands of the 6th Cavalry grounds this Sunday last. There, on the pitch, awaiting them, stood the mighty Mountain City Club. Having suffered a single defeat at the hands of their undefeated Chattanooga cohorts, these fearsome ballists displayed the wrinkled lips and sneers of cold command that captured well the collective will of a superior side at the top of its game. Knowing that they were in no position to rest on the laurels of their unlikely triumph last season, the Scouts approached the contest fully aware that the bounces would have to go their way if they were to turn events to their collective favor.
And in the early frames the Sam Davis nine gave no such indication, taking to the pitch and fielding the onion as if afflicted by buttered fingers. In the aftermath of the colossal wreckage of those early frames, the Scouts found themselves in a developing debacle, on the short end of a 13-2 score. It soon seemed to all in attendance that the dim glow of their earlier triumph had at long last been snuffed out.
Looking upon the work before them, however, the Scouts opted not to despair. Instead, they gathered themselves, checked their doubts, and began the difficult work of setting their course to rights. As the contest entered its middle innings the visitors chipped away at the Mountain City lead, narrowing the deficit incrementally with a tally here, a pair of aces there. Mitts, the principal agent in this effort of recovery, went on a bit of a tear. Striking salvos to the lone and level corners of the Cavalry grounds, he sent the Mountain City fielders to the deep pastures while breezily circling the sacks. Thus the Sam Davis bunch hoisted themselves back into the contest, and by the eighth inning the contest was ominously deadlocked at thirteen aces apiece.
However, having expended their most vital spirits in erasing that early deficit, the Scouts found that they had little left to yield to their favor a decisive result. With the beginning of the ninth frame the Chattanoogans’ dormant willows regained their starch, their batsmen pounding out a series of well-struck onions to place multiple runners at the sacks. On cue, those strikers who followed promptly drove these runners homeward, and when the Scouts finally secured the third out they found themselves once again at deficit, this time by a figure of five aces. And although a timely strike by Corn Bread narrowed the final tally, the Scouts were unable to muster any additional aces in their final innings and so were forced to acknowledge defeat by a final score of 18-15. Knowing that they had put up the good fight against a formidable club, the Sam Davis found occasion to congratulate their victorious Mountain City opponents and all then found respite from the blistering heat in the grounds’ shady borders and in various refreshing elixirs.
In coming decades those who visit those Cavalry grounds under customary circumstances will see the machinations of martial routine—soldiers in drill, squads in formation, officer and soldier working in kind to secure our collective well-being. Those visitors will likely scarce discern the spirited battles that determined ballists had waged on those grounds in times now past. However, like Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” where the traveler to an antique land beholds the wreckage of Egyptian monuments and discerns only the faintest whispers of mighty Pharaohs ruling in glorious, ancient epochs, a perceptive witness to the Cavalry grounds might hear similarly distant echoes of spirited exhortation and hearty “hoorah.” That visitor, attuned to the delicate tenor of those storied environs, might also divine muted murmurs of those long-ago ball matches, where the outcome of a spirited contest hung in the balance, where stout young men competed for the honor of their sides and for the pride of their villages, and where our great new game of base ball was played with the determined resolve of soldiers waging grand battle.
However, such fanciful musings about the future have no place in the here and now. Here in the firm present the Scouts must shake off the sting of defeat, gather themselves for another lengthy perambulation, and prepare themselves to face the battle-tested Emmett Machinists of Knoxville at the grounds of the Hermitage on Sunday, July 24. Fresh off a victorious outing this Sunday last against the noble Farriers of Franklin, this grand side will be braced to compete against the Sam Davis Bunch. And those cranks who might fancy a rousing day of base ball in this grand setting are encouraged to attend this contest and are implored, as always, to bring a chair or blanket for their comfort and victuals and libations for their nourishment.
Fate is inscrutable. So, to a man, mused the Scouts, facing now the prospect of a long summer wander far afield from the friendly grounds of the Sam Davis Home. Their home grounds now unplayable, the local nine began their prolonged perambulations by making another ascent to the airy climes of the Highland Rim. So must those in the face of misfortune accept their fates, gather their resolve, and forge ahead.
Sharing the fated wariness of the famed “Wanderer” of Anglo-Saxon verse, the visitors likewise came to terms with their wandering destiny. Pursuing glories afield despite their itinerant condition, the Scouts faced off against a Distiller’s bunch eager for revenge. In the wake of their dispiriting defeat to the rival Phoenix Club two weeks prior, the Scouts took to the pitch with their hearts still heavy and their battle-glories tarnished. And as the game commenced in that sloped pasture they approached the dish uneasily, likewise questioning the vicissitudes of fate within those steamy and forbidding terrains.
In kind, however, Scouts promptly answered those fates in their first innings with a robust series of rousing strikes afield. Sending the onion about the grounds in disparate directions, the Sam Davis batsmen amassed runners at the sacks, all ready to ascend the pathway up toward the keystone sack and then downward around toward home dish. With a trio of well-timed blows sent afield in the wake of these favorable developments, the visitors soon found themselves having taken the initial frame by a margin of five tallies. Beholden like all ballists to the twin furies of chance and fortune, the Scouts again found that grand work with their willows was efficacious in keeping those furies at bay.
While the Distillers waged a spirted battle in the middle frames to reduce that early advantage, their efforts eventually fell short as the Scouts matched their well-struck onions for some well-gathered worm-burners afield. Particular praise is due to the trio of the Elder, the Slow Poke, and Mitts, each of whom contributed grand fieldwork leading to the decisive result. As noted in earlier dispatches, the denizens of the Highland Rim tend to prompt unease among Godlier cranks in light of their nebulous profession; but their own cranks support them to the end, and on this day observers were left impressed once again with their continuing resolve and their gentlemanly approach to the game. A pair of timely aces in the contest’s seventh frame provided sufficient cushion to yield this final margin: Scouts 8, Distillers 2.
Lofty praise must also be directed, once again, toward the Scotsman. True to the ancient battle-deeds of his Pictish forefathers, this fine ballist earned kudos for his fine play at the first sack which nicely complemented his stout showing at the dish. On this day Uncle Jessie, the wizened and battle-tested leader of the Sam Davis side, found occasion to pay rare tribute to this newest member of the Scouts, awarding the first-sacker with an unprecedented second game ball. And with the contest thus concluded, both Scout and Distiller adjourned to the sidelines to celebrate the contest’s ardor with their cranks and teammates in spirited post-match conviviality.
The first stop on their season-long ramble is now complete, and in this contest the Scouts were thankful to find momentary glory in the golden light of victory. Emerging from that glow, however, they face another prolonged perambulation, first a rigorous ascent across the craggy ridgetops of the Cumberlands and then downward toward Chattanooga Cavalry grounds. Here they are slated to face the famed and formidable Mountain City Club on Saturday July the 9th.
Their cranks might remember the how the Scouts, in a shining moment of good fortune, snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in last season’s hotly contested match. As that ancient Saxon verse proclaims, however, fortune soon deserts the warrior who takes his battle-treasure for granted. Since that steamy August day the Mountain City side has grown more formidable, and they will surely be ready to test the mettle of the Sam Davis bunch. Those interested in joining the side for this most arduous sojourn are, as always, advised to bring a chair or a blanket for their own comfort and victuals and libations for their nourishment.
We sing today of their willows and the Scouts, wishing that this song had a more celebratory tenor. Venturing northward this Sunday last from the wounded Sam Davis Home to the State House Grounds, the Scouts took to the pitch against their familiar rivals, the noble Phoenix club of East Nashville, who joined the Scouts in remembering the tragic events that loomed in the backdrop of the contest. Indeed, all stood reminded that base ball was but a diversion on this soggy, steamy day. The day’s contest served both as a focus of larger celebration and an occasion to pay respects in light of the past week’s misfortunes. The pervasive dampness captured well the pensive the moods of the gathered ballists, but each was determined to give his best effort despite the melancholy circumstances of the day.
On this occasion the anniversary of statehood was also to be marked for the cranks there gathered, fulfillment of a vision akin to that expressed by the Aeneid of the grand bard Virgil. In their uncertain condition, the Sam Davis bunch, like the Trojan exiles cast adrift into the Mediterranean, likewise faced the anxious prospect of an uncertain pathway forward. But even as Aeneas, the storied hero of Rome’s ascendency, labored with the vaguest premonition of a glorious world that he would never witness, so were the assembled throng of Tennessee’s base ball cranks thus gathered to celebrate the fruits of such pioneering labors, similarly undertaken.
As the first innings commenced the moods of the Scouts were to dampen further as the re-fortified Phoenix Club, remembering their defeat at the Sam Davis grounds a month prior, set the tone in their first innings with three timely tallies. However, in the “bello passus” (war and suffering) of the match, both sides found respite in the fog of competition. As testimony to the tonic powers of our grand ball game the Scouts were able to record timely aces in reply, and so the game stood deadlocked in its middle innings the sullen circumstances of the day were held at bay.
Eventually, though, the machinations of Fate would prove to serve in the favor of the Phoenix, who, capitalizing on some tepid work at the dish and some ill-fated miscalculations by the Scouts on the base paths, eventually took command with timely aces in the middle frames. Then, fending off some late innings charges from their opponents, the East Nashville nine rose from their ashen den to reign triumphant, the final tally thus recorded: East Nashville 8, Stewart’s Creek 4.
Thus was the Phoenix club able to fashion victory first out of despair, and then confusion and conflict, aligning themselves favorably with the fates as they grasped the sweet fruit of triumph. On this day, with the unhappy events of the week past weighing on their minds and dampening their spirits, the Scouts were willing to accept defeat to a superior side in a contest where both were to be commended for keeping more important concerns—including the friends and family of a fallen warrior, and the safety of those in the proximity of their home grounds–foremost in their thoughts. Nevertheless, on this day the game’s curative qualities on display; and many a crank in attendance expressed hope that base ball will come to assume an ever greater role in our healing Nation’s cultural fabric.
On a more hopeful note: tempus fugit! Time will inexorably move forward and the Scouts will take the field again under happier—if no less forbidding–circumstances. In two weeks’ time the Sam Davis nine returns to the airy summits of the Highland Rim, once again to take on the rival Distillers. Their cranks might recall how the Scouts encountered unexpected success afield and in their innings in a recent visit to those tilted pastures. And so should the denizens of Stewart’s Creek anticipate a spirited contest against a motley bunch that will surely have revenge on their minds as they seek to return the favor. Any who are interested in attending this match would do well to bring a chair or a blanket for their own comfort and victuals and libations for their nourishment. Hope to see you there!
Unlike the waves making their way toward the pebbl’d shore, the Scouts did not hasten to ascend to the steamy summits of the Highland Rim this Sunday last. Cognizant of their poor showings against the League Champion Distillers over recently past seasons, the Scouts instead reached the Mansker’s outpost with game trepidation, both anticipating the stern test before them and anxious about the quirky character of the sloped confines they were there to play upon.
Like the spirituous fruits of their labor that lead unwary partakers into regrettable realms of error, the Distillers have likewise exerted diverting effect on recent opponents, plying opposing ballists with occasion to commit awkward miscues, to chase down well-struck salvos, to hurl wayward onions, and generally to lament the machinations of the Base Ball fates. In this way they have achieved noteworthy success against many an Association club. Such were the results last season in their lone contest with the Scouts, and such was the pattern to many of their stirring conquests on their way to last season’s league championship.
However, even as the Distillers drew first blood, the Scouts soon embarked upon a series of “sequent toils,” many of their strikers enduring the laborious struggle upward toward the second sack before rounding into form around third with another well-struck onion before hastening back downward toward the dish, thus winded, to record another tally. As the game’s nativity moved crawled towards its maturity, “crooked ‘clipses” continued to darken the visages and spirts of the Distillers as the Scouts matched well-timed aces with grand plays afield. Mammoth blasts from the willows of Elder, the Scotsman, and Bumpy all served well to pad the Scouts’ growing lead in those middle frames; and in the contest’s later stages the stout defensive efforts of Uncle Jessie and that same Scotsman kept the visitors’ lead intact.
It was soon revealed to the Mansker’s faithful that while time and tide had yielded to the Distillers many successes in previous contests, time on this day was now serving to confound their hopes—time, as aided by the Scouts’ efforts on their sacks, in their pastures, and at the dish. Thus did time “doth transflix the flourish” set upon the successes of the Mansker’s bunch in weeks past, and so had it “delved parallels” in their furrowing brows as they confronted the contest’s looming result.
Some of the Godlier cranks in attendance, wary of the effects of the intoxicating drop, might have regarded the Distillers’ chosen trade suspiciously. However, those witnessing the match were all quick to recognize how the denizens of the Highland Rim remained gentlemanly sportsmen to the bitter end of a contest where the fates were clearly not smiling upon them, one resulting in this unexpected final tally: Scouts 18, Distillers 4.
Despite the many successes they enjoyed on this day, the Scouts collectively agreed that laudatory mention in particular must be directed to “The Iron Belly.” A Man of God and a purveyor of his own “holy spirits” to boot, the Scouts’ backstop also proved to be a veritable force of nature on the field and at the dish, garnering a pair of ticked “fouls” for timely outs and striking a pair of colossal missiles to the deep reaches of the Mansker’s grounds, blasts leading to felicitous aces. Thus were the Scouts moved to “praise his worth,” celebrating The Belly’s grand day by awarding him the Game Ball. Wherewith being thus crowned, he called for all on both sides to “feed on the rarities” of the day’s events in a post-contest atmosphere of conviviality and well-wishing.
For their part, the Scouts remain aware of this salient fact: only a foolish ballist, assuming that his side’s celebratory verses will stand perpetually, inquires too closely into—or places too much faith in—the often “cruel hands” of the Base Ball Gods. Although dispatching the Highland Rim bunch on this day, the Scouts recognize that the moment will pass and that battle-ready opponents await. The Sam Davis side next takes the pitch at the grounds of the Statehouse Mall on June the 5th to do battle once again with that game Phoenix Club of East Nashville; and again on June 19th, the Sam Davis nine return to these same airy pastures of Mansker’s to take on these Distillers, surely revenge-minded, once again. Cranks interested in attending either of these contests are advised to bring a chair or a blanket for their own comfort and victuals and libations for their nourishment. Hope to see you there!