Archive for August, 2014
Rochester, Michigan . . . The largest crowd to see a base ball match this season packed the stony-walled confines of Van Hoosen Farm on a languid Sunday afternoon. The cranks in attendance were treated to the vintage game at its finest, with the vaunted Greenfield Village La-de-dahs in town to serve as the frontispiece for the Grangers’ home finale.
For Elizabeth “Batty” Grant, an eight year old third grader from Longmeadow Elementary, it was a chance to wear the Grangers black and ivory zibeline, having been anointed an honorary bat-and-ball girl for the day. Dignitaries amongst the overflow assemblage were recent newlyweds Megan and Mike Hoornaert of Rochester, along with the Hitchman clan from Beverly Hills.
Following introductions, the Dearborns brooked no delay in unfurling their lumber, launching a slew of horsehide missiles to distant corners of the esplanade. Only the non-pareil longfielding of Steve “Steam Engine” Sebert and Keith “Boomer” Walters stanched further damage by the determined visitors, who tallied four aces before the hometowners had a chance to strike back.
The Rochesters, stirred but not shaken by the salvo, then displayed their own dexterity with the sculpted truncheon, announcing their intentions with a galvanized response. Pivotal blows by Kevin “Six-Shooter” Straub, Craig “Slappy” Prasatek and Jim “Peg-Leg” Saraceno contributed to a sustained uprising, lifting the Grangers to a nine to four advantage after five innings of play. The tenor of the match thereafter much resembled a tug-of-war, with the Grangers answering each parry by the visitors with an equal and opposite force.
Meanwhile, studied observers of the game were keen to spot a familiar face in a La-de-dah uniform in the personage of Paul “Coot” Hunkele, a former Granger player and base ball oracle on loan from the Mt. Clemens Club. Despite his sage familiarity with local ground rules, the Dearborns persisted in directing blows to the riparian wetlands beyond the split rail fence. This circumstance occasioned more than one visit to the area by Henry “Frenchy” La France, who in one foray was careful to retrieve the ball from an agitated chuckwalla.
With a truce reached by the principals for control of the waterway habitat, the Grangers returned their attention to the more practical pursuit of mashing the spheroid. A flurry of Rochester aces in the eighth and ninth innings thereafter produced a handsome lead, much to the delight of the highly partisan multitude. Though each club throughout the day had displayed a studious mastery of the fundamentals, it was the Grangers who emerged on the upward side of an eighteen to nine final accounting, laying claim to the season’s series between the old rivals.
Having been awarded the game ball by Umpire David “Doc” Howarth, the suspendered stalwarts then invited boys and girls to strike and run the bases. Afterward, the ballists and their families repaired to the Calf Barn for a repast of disarticulated pork shank and numbles prepared by the General and Mrs. Worden. When at last the comestibles were gone, all agreed the day had provided an idyllic postscript to a season to remember.