White Stockings team opens Vintage Base Ball season

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After a long, cold, snowy winter and a wet start to spring, finally Base Ball was in the air.

Not the baseball you are thinking of.

No big league contracts, pennant races or even gloves for that matter.

Vintage Base Ball.

A league modeled on the origins of the game from over 150 years ago, 1869 to be exact. A gentlemanly game using special period replica bats, lemon peel balls and no gloves – that’s right barehanded. Note that Base Ball used to be spelled as two words, it isn’t a typo.

This past Sunday, the Vevay White Stockings had the opportunity to travel up river to Rising Sun where our good friends, The Belle River Club was hosting a three-way match with the White Stockings and the Muffins hailing from Columbus.

With all the rain we have received over the past week, it was expected to be a messy day, but on Sunday the sun came out strong and it soon became a perfect day for America’s favorite pastime.

This was the first match of the year for the White Stockings and we played the second match of the day against the fine Muffins of Columbus Ohio, a storied team with a history of over 35 years playing vintage base ball. There were between 75-100 cranks (fans) out to be entertained by the day’s affairs. The match started as all gentlemanly matches begin with a good ole fashion coin toss. The White Stockings won the toss and chose to take the field.

The field of play filled with White Stockings, as Dennis “Golden” Cole was at homepoint and his son Adam “Batman” Cole was hurling from pitcher’s point. Josh “Flip” South was at first; Jared “Gypsy” Schroeder at second; Ryan “Hannibal” Jesop was the short fielder; and Andy “Barley” Haskell rounded out the infield at third.

Brian “Scoops” Craig was in left field, Devin “Scooter” Scudder in center and Neil “Sub” Smith in right. On the bench to start the game was Shane “Grasshopper” Griffin, Justin “Mayor” Roberts, and Ricky “Big Bat” Roberts.

The first couple of innings of the day were quick as neither team tallied any aces. The experienced Muffin’s hurler had quite a battery on display throughout the day, giving the White Stockings club of nine early trouble with breaking balls and knucklers.

The field of play for the White Stockings soon became apparent with Barley and Flip knocking down some strong daisy cutters and excellent field awareness by Batman and Gypsy as well as quick thinking by Scooter in the outfield.

Then the bats came alive with heavy striking by Big Bat to start the White Stockings off on a great streak of wonderful striking. The excellent play in the field continued with a great double play after fast thinking from Hannibal and Big Bat at short and second. The quick base running of Scooter also claimed to be trouble for the Muffins as his speed was soon recognized as he hit an infield homerun.

The highlight of the day went to Barley who legged out an error at second running 180 feet from first to third, resulting in a strong amount of huzzahs from the White Stockings bench.

The match ended with a score of 19-3 in the favor of the White Stockings.

The White Stockings are back in action at Ogle Park in Vevay on this Sunday, April 19th at 1 p.m., where we host the powerful Norwood Highlanders, who pummeled the White Stockings last year on a visit to Vevay. The weather is supposed to be nice, hope to see all the faithful base ball fans for a peek into the past.

- Josh South