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!