FRANKLIN TENNESSEE – CARNTON PLANTATION – In a game that was interrupted due to the extreme heat, the Highland Rim 9 battled the Franklin Farriers and came out on top by a score of 8-5.
About 100 die hard Vintage Base Ball fans filled the sidelines of the field. With a heat index well into the 90’s the grounds were filled with tents and umbrellas to provide relief from the sun.
Umbrellas and Tents to battle the Sun
Amen was agreed upon to be the Arbiter for the match. After going over the ground rules the teams introduced themselves and Buster Barnes was selected to do his first ever bat toss. Buster caught the bat low and ended up on top, he notified Amen that the Distillers would bat second.
Conjuror Earns the Start
The Conjuror was the hurler for the Distillers as Old Hoss did not make the trip. The Farriers started off the game with a hit but failed to tally any runs. Buster led off the bottom of the 1st with a line shot into center, Shooter bounced out to 3rd. Nips came to the plate and hit a line shot to first base that Trapper somehow managed to knock to the ground. He scooped the ball and made the easy out at 1st. Cactus ended the inning with a roller to first. After 1 the game was tied, 0-0.
Neither team mounted much of a threat in the 2nd. In the bottom of the 3rd Cornstalk, Stick, Piccadilly Willy and Max Ax all placed the ball perfectly into the tall infield grass for singles with Cornstalk scoring on the single by Mad Ax. The Distillers held the lead 1-0 after 3 innings of play.
Buster Pitching Debut – Photo by Terry Coats
In the top of the 4th Buster made his pitching debut. After the first batter he found his bearings and started firing strikes. With a runner on base a line shot was hit off of the hands of the 2nd baseman. Nips charged trying to make the out on the bound. He missed the ball but fired it in to 2nd base for what appeared to be a force out. After much debate and the Arbiter asking a fan seated next to, (if not on) the Farriers bench it was determined that the runner was safe at the 2nd bag. The Farriers ended up scoring 2 runs to take a 2-1 advantage into the 4th inning.
The lead didn’t last long. On the first hittable pitch to Nips he sent a shot over the head of the unsuspecting right fielder. Nips loped around the bags and made it back to the plate without as much as a throw. Soon after Hamspoon singled and was brought around to score. The Distillers had regained the lead, 3-2.
Buster pitched another inning, this time allowing no runs to score. In the bottom of the 5th with 2 outs Big Red singled and then came around to score.
Cornstalk at the Dish
The Distillers held a 4-2 lead until the top of the 7th. Several mistakes in the field by the Distillers combined with timely hitting by the Farriers allowed for 2 runs to be scored. With the game tied at 4 a piece the game entered the bottom of the 7th. Hits by Cornstalk, Stick and Piccadilly Willy brought Big Red to the plate. With the bases full of Distillers, Big Red hit a ball that floated into short left field for a single that allowed Stick and Piccadilly Willy to score the go ahead runs.
In the top of the 8th, trailing by a score of 6-4 the Farriers tried to make some noise. With a runner on 1st a ball was hit into the right center gap. Cracker Jack alerted Nips out in center that the base runner had failed to tag up on the play. Nips caught the ball and fired a strike to Cracker Jack for the double play.
With just a 2 run lead the Distillers buckled down and got back to work. Shooter and Nips led off the inning with base hits. Cactus and Hamspoon collected RBIs making the score 8-4 after 8 innings.
Trapper tries to tie the Game – Photo by Terry Coats
In the top of the 9th the Farriers were able to bring a run across the dish and send the tying run to the plate. With runners on 1st and 3rd Trapper eyed a gap out in left center field. He put the bat on the ball and sent the ball towards the gap. The ball held up as he had just got under it enough allowing Nips to range over and grab the ball on the bound.
The final score stood at 8-5 though it was a much closer match than it would appear. As always Amen did an admirable job calling the game and the Farriers were gracious hosts. With the win the Distillers share a spot at the top of the standings with the Knoxville Holstons. In the second game of the day the Stewarts Creek Scouts fell to the Oak Hill Travelers (4-8) to fall to a game back.
The next match for the Distillers will be Sunday August 2nd against the Phoenix of East Nashville. The game will be held at 2:30PM down at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.
Team Photo – Photo by Terry Coats
Distillers patiently wait for the game to start.
GOODLETTSVILLE – HISTORIC MANSKER’S STATION– With temperatures in the 90’s a crowd of about 75 huddled in the shade behind the backstop to watch the Highland Rim 9 take on the Nashville Maroons. Both team entered the match with 4-2 marks, the Distillers losers of their last two.
For the second time in as many years the two teams faced off on Father’s Day. After the team introductions the teams held a special Father – Son/Daughter first pitch ceremony. The Distillers sent their Mascot, “The Professor” out to handle the bat toss which he won without any shenanigans. The Distillers elected to bat second and took the field.
It was a shaky start for the Distiller’s defense; they allowed 2 runs in the top of the first and were lucky not to allow more. Trailing 2-0 the Distillers took their first turn at the dish. Buster led off and hit the first pitch he saw into the left field gap for a double. Hamspoon was retired on a lazy pop fly to 1st base; Buster had to hold his bag. Shooter doubled bringing Buster around for the first run of the game. Nips hit a hard line drive past second and was able to stretch it into a double, Shooter moved to 3rd and nearly got caught in a pickle. Cactus hit a worm burner to second bringing Shooter in to score. The inning ended and the two teams were tied at 2.
Cracker Jack cracks a shot into the trees.
Both teams played excellent 1864 barehanded base ball defense over the next couple of innings. In the 3rd inning Hotspur made what may have been the play of the day. With runners on 1st and 2nd Moonshine of the Maroons laced a ball into shallow left field. Hotspur took a few steps in and dropped to his knees catching the liner before it made contact with the ground. He fired a strike into 2nd base and doubled up the runner who had failed to tag up on the play. The Distillers got out of the jam and the score remained 2-2. In the bottom of the 3rd The Conjuror ripped a double through the gap in the left field trees. Gingerbread followed with an infield single. With 2 on and no outs the Maroons made several good plays on the infield to hold the Distillers scoreless.
Roadblock Thurmon rips a ball into right.
The Maroons broke through with a run in the top of the 4th to take a 3-2 lead. The Distillers could not answer in the bottom of the inning.
Hampsoon led off the bottom of the 5th with a line shot down the right field line, unfortunately the Maroon right fielder was on his game and he was able to get to the ball on the first bound. Shooter singled to center and then Nips hit a double into the right field gap. With runners on 2nd and 3rd Cactus doubled to right knocking in 2 more runs. The inning ended on some good fielding by the Maroons but the Distillers had taken a 4-3 lead.
Neither team scored in the 6th or 7th but the Distillers missed a great opportunity. Piccadilly Willy singled and then advanced to 2nd on a grounder by Big Red. With 2 outs Buster came to the plate and lined a shot out by the left field trees. Willy rounded 3rd heading for home and Buster headed for second trying for his 2nd double of the day. The Maroon outfield got the ball in quickly and Buster was tagged out just before he reached the base. There was some confusion as to if Willy had crossed the dish prior to the tag out at 2nd base. The arbiter ruled that he had and awarded the Distillers a run. The Maroon bench saw it differently but handled it in a gentlemanly manner. The captains of the Distillers discussed the play and agreed that they should make things right. The run was wiped from the board and the score remained at 4-3 in favor of the Distillers.
Old Hoss getting ready to close out the game.
In the bottom of the 8th the Distillers added an insurance run when Shooter doubled and then Cactus knocked him in. Going in to the top of the 9th the Distillers clung to a 5-3 lead. The Maroons didn’t put up much of a threat thanks in part to a diving catch on the bound by Hotspur out in left field. After the final hand was recorded the score stood at 5-3 in favor of the Distillers.
Hamspoon and Big Red – Spooning around.
Notes – Cactus earned player of the game, he went 2 for 3 with a double and 4 RBI’s. On defense Hotspur’s play stood out in left field. Hotspur had a line shot catch and double play and several diving catches on the bound. Stick also made a diving catch out in right which should be remembered. Both The Conjuror and Old Hoss pitched brilliant games. They only allowed just 3 runs between them and they wasted little time in getting strikes over the plate. This kept the innings short and the defense on their toes, (not to mention out of the heat). 7 weeks into the season and the Distillers are in a 3 way (first place) tie with the Holstons and the Scouts.
The next match for the Distillers will be Sunday July 12th against the Franklin Farriers. The match will be held on the grounds of the Carton Plantation with team introductions starting at 12 Noon.
Distillers pose for a photo after the game.
SMYRNA – THE SAM DAVIS HOME – With temperatures in the low 90’s and the sun shining down on the Sam Davis Home the Highland Rim 9 tried to rebound after their heartbreaking loss last week. Roughly 50 fans filled in under the trees to catch the first game of the double header. The field was put into top shape by the host Stewart’s Creek Scouts. The garden grass was freshly mowed, lines were painted and there were even paths mowed between the bases. The tall grass beyond the outfield garden added to the look of the field and each bench was fitted with a canvas canopy for shade.
The two teams took some practice swings and then the Arbiter – Black Widow – Called the two teams to the field. After the introductions it was time for the bat toss. Some might say this was the first indication that things were not going to go in favor the team from Goodlettsville. The representative for the Oak Hill 9 pulled some “Tricky Stuff” and used the old flat hand method when he realized he had been beaten. Thinking it was a joke Gingerbread proceeded and was then promptly named the loser of the toss. Confused about the ruling the Distillers headed to the line for their first at bat.
Buster opened the game with a line shot to right which was grabbed on the bound. Hamspoon was retired on a roller to 1st. With 2 hands dead Nips hit a deep shot into the tall grass out beyond the garden. By the ground rules it was ruled a foul ball. After 2 more shots into the tall weeds Nips was able to single to right. Shooter hit into a force out and the top half of the inning was over. The Travelers came out firing on all cylinders and the Distillers showed that there may be signs of weakness in their defense. The bell rang just one time and some felt the Distillers had escaped.
The next 2 innings played out in much the same way. No runs for the Distillers and runs for the Travelers. After 3 innings of play the score stood and 4-0.
The 4th inning came and went and then the 5th; not a single Distiller reached base. The Travelers hurler was pitching a beauty and he retired 13 men in a row. Trailing 4-0 in the top of the 6th Nips came to the line and doubled to short right. Shooter followed with a double of is own and there were signs of life from the Distiller bench. Cactus grounded out but Nips scored on the play. Cracker Jack singled bringing home Shooter. The inning fizzled out but now the Distiller trailed by just 2 runs.
The writer would like to take a break in the account of this game… As far as we know the game of base ball has been clean since the infamous 1919 Chicago “Black” Sox scandal in which 8 Chicago White Stockings were accused of throwing the world series. I’ll say this, if 8 players were banned for suspicious play in that series then I’m pretty sure a majority of the Highland Rim 9 would have a hard time getting a jury to acquit them for their actions during this inning. Questions have to be raised when a team who yields 6 runs per game gives up 11 runs in just one inning. For the remainder of this game summary I will assume that everything was on the level and that no gamblers had any hand in the events that took place on the field.
With the Distillers within 2 runs the Oak Hill bats went back to work. First there was a line shot into the garden and then another and then another. After the dust settled 11 Travelers had circled the bases and 16 batters had straddled the line. The game was all but over – after 6 innings of play the Travelers held the advantage at 15-2.
The Distillers showed signs of life in the top of the 7th. Cornstalk and Mad Ax reached on a singles. Old Hoss and Big Red picked up RIBs. It was too little too late. The Travelers were not done yet. They answered the 2 runs with 2 more of their own. The final score stood in favor of the Travelers, 17-4.
NOTES… Credit should be given to the Traveler’s, they hit the ball well and the bags were full of Travelers nearly every inning. On Defense there were no holes to be found, 5 times they held the Distillers to hitless innings. The Highland Rim 9 had just 9 hits on the day while Oak Hill had over 30.
At the plate both Shooter and Nips had 2 hits. Buster hit the ball hard and was rewarded late if the game with a bloop double. Catus, Cracker Jack, Old Hoss and Big Red all came up with RBIs. There was little to get excited about on defense though Shooter made a big out in center when he raced back and got the ball on the bound to record the first out of the 6th inning. 1 inning later Nips ended a 2 run rally with a one handed catch on a deep fly to the left-center gap. Cornstalk made a great play at 2nd base when he beat a Traveler to the bag and hurled the ball upwards as he spun to avoid contact with the runner. Crack Jack showed his sure hands at first base while the left side of the infield recorded several outs.
The Distillers now stand at 4 wins and 2 losses. The next game will be against the Nashville Maroons for what could be solo possession of second place (or a even a piece of first). The game will be at 12 noon on June 21st at Mansker’s Station in Goodlettsville. June 21st is Father’s Day so be sure to arrive at the park early to catch the Father’s Day festivities before the game.
2 Members of the Oak Hill Travelers struggle to hold the lopsided scoreboard level after their 17-4 drubbing of the Highland Rim Distillers.
Big Red in a Bat Toss
GOODLETTSVILLE – HISTORIC MANSKER’S STATION – Despite the call for rain all
weekend the Highland Rim Distillers were able to get a dry game in against the visiting Mount City Club of Chattanooga. With temperatures in the low 80s and under partly cloudy skies a crowd of about 75 rabid vintage base ball fans were able to take in the Sunday afternoon game.
The agreed upon Arbiter for the day was famous baseball historian Skip Nipper. Skip was also the guest of honor and after the team introductions he threw out the first pitch. To complete the pre game festivities the visitors won the bat toss and elected to bat second.
Nips hits a double in the first.
The first 2 Distiller batters were retired and then Nips came to the dish and sent a ball high into the right field tree. The ball rolled to the fence and it was ruled a ground rule double. Shooter hit a grounder which gave the 2nd baseman some trouble. The throw to first was bad and Nips came around to score from second putting the home team up 1-0. That ended the scoring in the top half of the first.
The visitors took their turn at the line. The usually solid Distillers defense showed signs of weakness. A bad throw, a missed ball in the air and then on the bound; after the dust had settled 3 Mountain City men had crossed the plate. After one inning of play, Mountain City led 3-1.
Cornstalk one handed catch at 2b
Defense played by Piccadilly Willy
Neither team mounted much of an attack over the next 2 innings. Both teams made plays that stood out on defense. In the bottom of the 2nd with a runner on and one hand dead, a Mountain City batter hit a deep fly into right center field. Nips ran over getting a hand on the ball, he was able to secure it on the bound for the out. Nips fired the ball in to 2nd base where the runner who had initially retreated was tagged out trying to advance. Not to be outdone, Mountain City turned a twin killing on the Distillers in the top of the 3rd.
Old Hoss starts a 2 run rally
The Distiller bats went silent and the deficit grew to 4. Going into the top of the 7th the score stood at 5-1 Mountain City. Here the Distillers started a comeback . Old Hoss, Piccadilly Willy and Big Red all hit rollers just out of the reach of the Mountain City defenders. The Distillers bench came to life and the familiar sound of cow bells filled the park. After a couple of force outs the inning ended with just 2 Distillers stepping on the plate. Mountain City had dodged a bullet and clung onto a 5-3 lead.
Shooter RBI in the 8th
In the bottom of the 7th Mountain City scored a run to push the lead back to 3. Despite the minor setback the Distillers came out strong in the 8th. Nips led off with another moon shot that landed on the hill and rolled to the fence for a ground rule double. Shooter hit another double brining Nips in to score.
Hold on to your Hamspoon
Hamspoon launched a ball to the edge of the hill. The right fielded made a one handed attempt at the ball and lost it. Hamspoon raced around to 3rd with speed previously unseen in these parts. Cracker Jack tried a swinging bunt. The Mountain City catch dove for the ball just missing. Hamspoon with some more brilliant running was able to score. The game was tied at 6. With no outs it appeared that the Distillers might be on their way to another come from behind victory. The Conjuror singled to right.
Hotspur gets robbed of a hit
With men on 1st and 2nd Hotspur hit a shot to center. The Mountain City midfielder caught the line drive in the air robbing Hotspur of a sure go ahead double. The runners had not tagged but luckily the throw back to the infield was bad. With one hand dead the next 2 batters failed to push the go ahead run across the plate. The leading run was left standing on 3rd base.
The Distillers held Mountain City silent in the bottom of the 8th but failed to get a man on base in the top of the 9th. In the bottom of the 9th needing just one run to win the game the visitors came to the line. With a man on the next batter crushed a shot over the trees in left field. Some good defense held the runners at 2nd and 3rd. With no hands dead it appeared the Distillers were about to suffer their first loss. The Distiller defense played in to prevent the run from scoring. The defense paid off and the 2nd hand was recorded with a force out at the plate by Buster. The next batter nearly ended the game when he ripped a foul ball down the first base line. Luckily the brave camera man was not in the line of fire this time. On the next swing the batter hit an equally hard shot down the 3rd base line. The ball landed fair and nearly hit the base of a big oak tree out in left field. The runner at 3rd jogged home and put a nail in the distiller’s hopes of an undefeated season. Down in Miami they popped the champagne.
Mountain City Club wins
Notes of the game… The visitors from Chattanooga outplayed the locals. They mixed in 4 different pitchers and every man contributed in the field and at the line. For the locals, on defense Buster made the play of the day. A hard line drive was sent at him just below his waist, he slid down to his knees at caught the liner without a bobble or a scream. On offense The Conjuror had 3 hits including a double. Hampsoon, Nips, Shooter and Piccadilly Willy all had 2 hits on the day.
The Distillers have only a short time to recover from the loss. Their next opponent is the Oak Hill Travelers at Noon this coming Sunday June 7th. The game will be played at the Sam Davis home in Smyrna.
The Distillers would like to thank the Jesse Horn who despite taking a vicious line drive off the cheek stayed out and captured the entire game. Here is a link to his pictures from the game.
Story by Corey “Buster” Barnes
KNOXVILLE – THE HISTORIC RAMSEY HOUSE – In the second game of a doubleheader held at the beautiful grounds of Ramsey House, the Highland Rim Distillers defeated their hosts, the Emmett Machinists of Knoxville, 22-0. The Distillers willows were striking the onion well the whole afternoon while playing with lots of ginger on defense.
With the threat of rain and under warm and humid conditions, Arbiter “Bad Leg” Brown called the two teams to the field. The clever mascot of the Machinists introduced the teams to the estimated 250 assembled cranks. Cornstalk’s sure hands came out on the losing end of the bat toss which sent the Distillers to the line to start the game.
Cactus Mac touched the dish first for the Distillers on a stinger by Nips in the top of the 1st. Both teams played stout defense over the next two innings and the Distillers led 1-0 after 2 innings of play. In the top of the 3rd the Distiller willows started finding some holes out in the garden. Buster led off the inning with a double and Cactus followed with an infield single. Nips opened up the scoring with a four bagger that plated three tallies. Hamspoon’s speedy legs followed up with a triple; he was then sent home by the big stick of Cracker Jack making the score 5-0.
The Distillers willows were on fire the rest of the day with the bell being rung by many an ace. The visitors added 4 in the 5th, and 5 more in both the 6th and 7th to take a commanding 19-0 lead. Old Hoss hurled a complete game gem and his masterful hurling helped keep the Machinists from crossing the dish the entire afternoon. The Machinists had their chances and threatened to score several times in the later innings. In the 7th inning, (inspired by key plays in the field by Cornstalk and Buster) Nips fired a frozen rope to home plate where Big Red placed the tag on the oncoming runner to preserve the whitewash. In the 8th inning Mad Ax and Cornstalk made key catches to get Old Hoss out of a bases loaded no out jam. In the 9th the Machinists started off the inning with a one bagger but they could not bring him around to score.
GAME NOTES – The Conjurer tended his base well while also delivering at the dish; he had two tallies knocked in and rang the bell once himself. Big Red also made his way around the sacks to score an ace while also making an unbelievable play at the dish. In a new position, Mad Axe tended first base and made a diving catch to end a potential rally. Cactus handled several tough bounds early on to set the tone on defense. The ginger the Distillers displayed in the garden made them a formidable foe the entire match.
On defense it just wasn’t the Machinists’ day and the heart of the Distiller’s lineup took advantage. Hamspoon, Cracker Jack and Nips had a combined 16 tallies knocked in with Nips leading the way earning him the game ball.
Despite the whitewashing, the Emmett Machinists of Knoxville were gracious hosts who kept the local cranks entertained. With the win the Distillers are in sole possession of first place and remain the only undefeated team in the league. The Distiller’s next match will be Sunday May 31 at noon on the friendly grounds of Manskers Station, they will host the Mountain City team of Chattanooga.
Team Introductions 5-3-15
FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE – A crowd of 75 or so were on hand at the Carnton Plantation to witness what some are calling an instant classic. Under sunny skies and with temperatures in the mid 70’s the two teams played a clean game that entertained all in attendance. The game featured big plays on offense and defense causing the entire crowd to cheer loudly on several occasions. Cornstalk won the bat toss and the Distillers chose to bat second.
The Distillers opened the 2nd inning with hits by Buster, The Conjuror, Cracker Jack and Shooter. By the time the dust settled 4 aces had been tallied. After 2 innings of play the Distillers held a 4-0 advantage. Few Scout batters reached base in the early going. The Distillers defense had no holes and the majority of the hands were retired on the bound out in the garden. At the end of 4 the score stood at 5-0 in favor of the Distillers.
Distiller’s Bench and Old Hoss pitching in the 5th inning.
In the 5th inning the Scouts got on the board and they added another in the 6th. Though the Scouts had rallied to within 3 the home bugs felt their team was still in control. The Highland Rim 9 added 2 more in the 6th on RBI singles by Piccadilly Willy and Gingerbread. At the end of 6 innings the Distillers were leading – 7-2.
The Scouts came out firing on all cylinders in the 7th. The Distillers defense finally showed some signs of weakness and some mental lapses allowed the inning to be extended. Slow Poke hit a line drive out to left field bringing the Scouts within in 1 run. On the play Gingerbread raced back to get the ball as the Scouts circled the bases. Gingerbread hit the cutoff man who then hit Buster with a strike to gun down a sliding Tiny at 3rd base. The inning was over but the damage had been done. The crowd stood and cheered the momentum Scouts big inning as they took the field. In the bottom of the 7th the Distillers were held scoreless. There was some confusion on the Distillers sideline and bench about the score, some thought they were up by 2 while others thought they were losing the game.
The first batter of the 8th inning reached for the Scouts, the excitement built as it appeared the Scouts might be ready for another big inning. Here the Distillers defense shined brightly, Buster fielded a sharply hit ground ball and threw to Cornstalk for the force out at 2nd base. Cornstalk then turned and fired a strike to first to complete the double play. The top of the inning ended without the Scouts scoring a run. In the bottom of the inning the Scouts made several nice plays to hold the Distillers scoreless and keeping the momentum in their favor.
To the top of the 9th the two teams went. The Highland Rim 9 clung to a 1 run advantage. The Scout bats game to life once again. After the leadoff batter reached base Tick Tock came to the plate. In a move that nearly cost them the game the Distillers chose not to shift the right fielder leaving a huge gap between the center garden and right field. Tick Tock tied the game on a triple deep into the gap. Elder singled up the middle knocking in the go ahead run. The crowd behind the Scouts bench celebrated wildly as their beloved Scouts took the lead for the first time in the match. They failed to score again but the Scouts took the field holding the lead and the momentum.
Trailing by one run the home team did not buckle under the pressure. Cracker Jack led off the inning with a single. He signaled for a pinch runner but it was not allowed. Shooter dug in and then he connected on a pitch sending the ball over the head of the left fielder. Cracker Jack was able to make it around to 3rd and Shooter coasted into 2nd with a double. Hotspur, (also known as Hard to See earlier this spring) stepped to the plate and hit a line shot out into short center. Everyone on the 3rd base side of the field sprung to their feet as the tying and winning runs crossed the dish.
Members of the Distillers pose for a picture after the game.
Both teams met on the field to shake hands, it was agreed upon by all of the players that it was the best game played in these parts in quite some time. The game ball was awarded to Shooter (for his big hit in the last inning) though it could have gone to several other of the Distiller hitters. Hotspur stood out at the plate with his 3 RBIs and his game winning hit. Mad Ax should be recognized for his big double and other accomplishments at the plate. The entire defense played well making it difficult for the Scouts to do much in the first half of the game.
The week ended with the Distillers tied with the Nashville Maroons for the best record in the league. The team will have a much needed week off and will return to action on May 16th in Knoxville. The game will be played at the Ramsey House against the Emmett Machinists who hold a record of 1 win vs 2 losses.
The Distillers pose for a picture after a hard fought victory.
GOODLETTSVILLE – HISTORIC MANSKER’S STATION – With the overnight storms giving way to mostly cloudy skies the game between the Highland Rim Distillers and the Oak Hill Travelers went on as planned. The home town spectators were not disappointed as their Distillers won the hard fought battle.
The field setup crew arrived just after 10:30 and did their best to find some dry ground for home plate and the backstop. Both teams took a few warm-up swings and the pregame festivities were under way. At 12:05 the agreed upon arbiter, Bill “Amen” Scarborough called for the teams to introduce themselves. A crowd of maybe 15-20 watched as the Travelers won the bat toss and elected to take the field first.
The game featured some brilliant defense by both teams in the early going. In the bottom of the first the Travelers threatened to score when they advanced a man to 3rd with only 1 hand down. Cactus and Nips both made fly ball catches to prevent the run from scoring.
The Distiller bats were silent through the first 3 innings and the Travelers made several good defensive plays. In the bottom of the 3rd the Travelers scored on a play that had some comparing the Distillers to the Bad News Bears. One run scored on the play as the ball traveled completely around the infield, into foul territory and then finally into the hands of the unexpecting catcher, Big Red.
The Distillers tied it in the 4th but the pesky Travelers answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. The Oak Hill team held the Distillers silent again in the 5th and took a 2-1 lead into the 6th. After 2 trips through the order it looked as though the Distillers had left their bats back at the Distillery.
Cracker Jack started a 5 run rally with a hit to center. The next 5 batters singled and then Old Hoss doubled to knock in the 5th and final run of the inning. The Distillers stranded 3 men on base but held the lead, 6-2. In the bottom of the 6th Oak Hill answered with 1 run to bring the score to 6-3.
Nips led off the 7th inning with a shot that sailed over the right fielder and into the fence for a ground rule double. Buster lined a ball to 3rd for an infield single. Cracker Jack singled to score Nips and The Conjuror bounced out to center allowing Buster to score. Oak Hill responded with 3 in the bottom of the inning to make the score 8-6.
The Distillers added 2 more in the 8th on RBI singles by Mad Ax and Hotspur to push the lead back to 4. Oak Hill failed to mount much of a rally in the 8th and 9th and the Distillers held on for a 10-6 victory.
Notes of the game – 9 of the 14 Distillers had 2 hits while Cornstalk led the team with 3. Piccadilly Willy, Mad Ax and Hotspur led the team in RBIs with 2 a piece. On defense Hampsoon and Buster played a solid left side of the infield while the outfield robbed the Travelers of several hits early in the game.
The next game will be held at 12 noon on May 3rd at the Carnton Plantation. The Distillers will go up against the undefeated Stewart’s Creek Scouts in a game where the winner will retain a portion of first place. The game will be highly anticipated in these parts and it is expected that both teams will bring several dozen rooters to the match.
Abraham Lincoln throws first pitch – Photo by Nicole Herrera
KNOXVILLE – THE HISTORIC RAMSEY HOUSE – Under beautiful sunny skies and with temperatures in the 70’s the Highland Rim Distillers opened the season with a dramatic come from behind win. Clutch defense and clutch hitting was the key to the victory.
The season opening festivities kicked off just before noon. The two teams were accompanied into the park by a Civil War fife and drum. The teams lined the field between 1st and 3rd base as a barber shop quartet sang a beautiful rendition of the national anthem. A few announcements were made and then Tim Burchett, (the Mayor of Knox Country) and President Abraham Lincoln were invited out to each throw a first pitch.
The Distillers won the bat toss and elected to take the field first. In the 1st inning the Holstons were held scoreless while the Distillers were able to manufacture one run. The Holstons came back with 2 in the 2nd to take a 2-1 lead. The bats came alive in the 3rd for the Highland Rim team. With 2 hands down Cactus singled and then Nips hit a line shot over the center fielder’s head and coasted into 2nd with an RBI double. The Conjuror and Shooter followed with RBI singles to bring the run total to 3 for the inning. After 3 innings the score stood in favor of the Distillers, 4-2.
The Holstons responded with 4 in the 4th, 1 in the 5th and 2 in the 7th while the Distillers bats were held silent. Going into the bottom of the 8th things were looking bleak for this visitors from the Highland Rim. Trailing by a score of 9-4 the distillers got some timely hitting by Hamspoon, The Conjuror, Cracker Jack, Cornstalk and Gingerbread. The rally resulted in 3 more runs tallied to bring the team within 2. The Distillers trailed by a score of 7-9.
In the final inning the Holstons were retired without plating a run. With just 3 outs to go Stick came to the plate and hit a ball that settled just in front of the catcher. He raced down the line and beat the throw to first. Hamspoon batted next and singled, Cactus knocked in Stick and advanced to 2nd on the throw. With the winning run at 2nd base the Holstons were forced to play the outfield shallow. Nips hit a fly ball and was out on the bound but Hamspoon scored on the play to tie the game. With the winning run still at second, The Conjuror flew out. With 2 hands down Cracker Jack dug in and hit a fly ball that was just deep enough to give the shallow outfield problems. The bound was missed and Cactus hustled home to end the game.
The two teams met in the middle of the field to congratulate each other on the well played, hard fought game. The Holstons were true hosts as they presented the game ball to the Distillers. The Highland Rim team awarded Cracker Jack the game ball for his game winning walk off single and stellar play at 1st base.
The Highland Rim Distillers will play again on April 19th as they host the Oak Hill Travelers. The game will be held at Noon at Mansker’s Station in Goodlettsville.
Box Score in Knoxville
FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE – The Highland Rim Distillers met the Stewart’s Creek Scouts this past Sunday for a scrimmage game at the Carnton Plantation. The game was played on one of the two fields that remained from the Vintage Base Ball conference held at the site on Saturday. The temperature was in the mid 60’s and the sun was out for a good portion of the game. The agreed upon Arbiter was Bill “Amen” Scarborough.
THE GAME – The Scouts won the bat toss and elected to bat second.
The Distillers jumped out to a quick 7 run lead as 6 of the first 7 men to bat reached base safely. In the bottom of the first the Scouts answered with 2 runs of their own.
The Scouts kept chipping away and by the end of the 3rd inning the score was tied at 7. The Distillers broke out again with RBI hits by Gingerbread, Big Red and Piccadilly Willy to take a 13-7 lead into the bottom of the 4th. The Scouts again answered with 2 more to make it 13-9.
In the 5th inning a clutch 2 RBI hit by Crackerjack stretched the Distillers lead back to 6 runs, the score stood at 15-9.
The Conjuror – Knocks in 2 RBIs.
The Scouts added 2 runs in the bottom of the 5th and were at it again in the 6th, several batters laced line drives and they tallied 4 runs to tie the game at 15.
In the top of the 7th the Distillers surged back into the lead with 4 more runs, 2 coming on an RBI double by The Conjuror. The hit was the best of the day for the Distillers, the ball split the outfielders and was hit deep into the left center field gap. On the play the Conjuror had visions of a triple; it was not to be though as he was thrown out on a close play at 3rd base. That would end the scoring for the Distillers.
The game entered the bottom of the 9th with the Highland Rim Nine up by 3 runs. Old Hoss came on (in relief) to try to preserve the victory. The Scouts came out with hit after hit bringing the score closer. With bases loaded “Tick Tock” Platz ended the game with a 2 RBI walk off infield double.
The Scouts won the game 20-19
The game was witnessed by 15-20 spectators.
The season opener for the Distillers will be April 11th at the Historic Ramsey House in Knoxville. The Highland Boys will face the Holstons of that city at 12 Noon Eastern Time.