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.
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.
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.