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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.