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.
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.
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.
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.
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.