It was a bittersweet moment when the curtain fell on a long-running base ball act, the Rochester Grangers, who concluded play at Van Hoosen Farm with a match against the La-De-Dahs of Greenfield Village. Keen to reprise their recent success at the World Tournament of Vintage Base Ball, the Grangers welcomed one of the largest crowds of the season. With spectators conspicuously lining the baselines and the split rail fence, shade and a bird’s eye view were in short supply.
Correctly auguring the coin toss, the Grangers eschewed popular convention and elected to strike first. The benefits proved immediate as the Rochesters tallied a pair of aces to take an early lead. The Dearborns were quick to retaliate however, knotting the score with a doublet of their own. As the match progressed it was apparent that scoring chances would be at a premium as propulsion of the mottled orb became increasingly difficult.
With the Grangers clinging to a four to three lead in the eighth inning, Scott “Chooch” Westgate employed a daring baserunning strategy predicated on the art of surprise. Known more for his prodigious power than speed, the aforementioned Mr. Westgate proceeded on consecutive pitches to steal second and third base. The unscheduled walkabout unsettled the visitor’s hurler as well as the Grangers’ histrionic high commander Patrick “Barn Raiser” McKay, who was tempted to calm his nerves with a sip from his private medicinal recipe. The stealthy advance appeared well-considered when Mike “Cue Ball” Johnson followed with a liner to the longfield, providing a supplemental tally in a game the Rochesters would win by a final five to three accounting.
Honorees for the day included Henri “Frenchy” La France, who announced a plan to move to Germany to pursue his dream of a career in moat maintenance and drawbridge design. Also donning the coveted RG for the day was ten-year-old Noah Murray, who impressed the assemblage with his enthusiastic turn as bat boy.
A week hence the intrepid ballists, ignoring simmering hostilities arising out of a long-standing territorial border dispute, traveled to Columbus, Ohio to compete in the two-day Ohio Cup Tournament. Doing justice to their reputations, the Grangers won five of six matches while demonstrating their trademark civility and demeanor.
Their season concluded, the suspendered stalwarts must now exchange the cudgel and spheroid in favor of the plow and sickle, and look forward to spring when the crack of the bat will once again herald the return of base ball to Van Hoosen Farm.