The Atlantic Base Ball Club welcomed the Providence Grays back to the Smithtown Historical Society Grounds this weekend to celebrate the first match played between these two clubs fifteen long years ago. Although only a few members of each team have withstood the test of time all of our members appreciate the commraderie and fellowship of the vintage game that has brought us together.
A moderate temperature with sunny skies brought fine playing conditions while the dry ground from lack of recent precipitation made the ball bounce higher than usual for this time of year.
The first match was an underhand 1864 contest and saw the Grays strike first scoring one ace tallied in their inital set of chances. The Atlantics quickly tied it in their half of the first and the score remained tied until the third when the Atlantic onslaught began. Four tallies in the third, one in the fifth, and five in the sixth inning put the game out of reach as the Atlantic Defense showed their mettle displaying for all to witness their soft sure hands and quick feet.
Vincent “Tuna” Aurora kept the Grays off of the scoreboard by tossing six whitewashes after that first inning and this was followed by Frank “Hammy” Obidienzo pitching another two goose eggs to finish the game.
Leading the Atlantic Attack was Hammy, Frank “Shakespeare” Van Zant, Dean “Dreambucket” Emma and Kevin “Flash” Harrison with three hits each. Striking equally well were George “Blackjack” Pappas with two doubles, and Anthony “Dirty Pirate” Cannino, George “Wildhorse” Ferchland and Tuna with two hits each. “Tricky Rick” Stattler succeeded in quenching his taste for revenge against his former team by tagging a finely struck double in the middle of one of the Atlantics rallies.
A second game was set about to the rules of base ball in 1884. In this era of base ball the pitchers were no longer restricted to underhand throwing motions and batters could request high or low zones in which to strike but the pitcher had a count of six balls and three strikes in which to determine the outcome of the at-bat.
The Atlantics sent veteran righthander Shakespeare between the wooden discs as our pitcher for the Atlantics first overhand match of the season. Shakespeare was equal to the task and backed by some tremendous defense tossed a complete game allowing only a single run to cross the plate.
Widely considered the toughest position to play in the overhand game, the Atlantic catcher for this game was poached from the Brooklyn Eckfords squad for a six-pack of barley water. Lassie did not only a fine job behind the plate but stroked two hits including a double.
The Atlantics struck first with two out in the bottom of the first as Dreambucket singled, stole second base and made it home on a flare into short rightfield by Flash.
Both teams put their defense on display for a few innings before the Grays tied the score at one in the fourth inning. Not to be dismayed the Atlantics struck back quickly with five runs in their half of the fourth and four more in the fifth.
A number of Atlantics had notable games, Shakespeare not only kept the Grays off balance with his mixture of fast and knuckling balls, but struck two hits and scored two aces to help his own cause. Dreambucket smashed a homerun through the trees in right-center field and tallied four runs. Wildhorse and Flash each had two hits, while Blackjack and Tuna each had two runs.
Late in the game the Atlantics threatened to blow the match wide open with the bases loaded and the resident muffin Matt “Krawler” Kouyoumdjian strolled off of first base while Grays Captain Brian Travers held the ball hidden. Moments later the third out of the inning was recorded as Brian lightly rested the ball on Krawlers shoulder. The final outs of the match came on another fine defensive play as Anthony “Willy Mo” Stelmach caught a soft, but difficult to field, line drive and doubled-up the Grays runner at first by a quick toss over to Flash before he could return.
MILFORD DOWNS PHILADELPHIA
On Sunday, April 21, a beautiful day for vintage base ball at Memorial Field at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, the Milford Excelsior’s of the Southern Delaware Base Ball Club faced the Athletic Club of Philadelphia. 10 Excelsior’s turned out for the matches, including three new players: Dean “Pappy” Holleger, Randall “Coop” Zehr, and Matt “Peg Leg” Revelle. Thanks you for joining us Gentlemen.
In the opening match, the Athletics jumped out to a quick lead. The match was 8 to 7 after the first three innings the game then quickly turned in the Excelsior’s favor scoring 7 and 6 aces in the next 2 innings before the Athletics brought in the Mouth to shut down the Excelsior’s over the next three innings. The Excelsior’s offense was lead by Jimmy “Paycheck” Fitzhugh and Chad “Dumpling” Holleger both going 5 for 6 hitting and Jeff “Babe” Puglia went 6 for 6 during the first match. The final tally was Milford 27, Philadelphia 7.
In the seven-inning nightcap, the Excelsior’s jumped out to a huge lead, scoring 21 aces in the first 4 innings. . Chad “Dumpling” Holleger and Jimmy “Paycheck” Fitzhugh continued to pile up hits going 4 for 5 and 5 for 6. Aaron “Ham-Bone” Sterling also went 5 for 6 and Jim “Preacher’ Oechsler was 5 for 5 in the nightcap match. Preacher picked up 2 more wins as the Excelsior’s won the second match Milford 25, Philadelphia 2.
Special thinks to our friends the Athletics Athletic Club of Philadelphia for two very well-played and gentleman’s matches, to the Dapper Dog for outstanding food, to the arbiter “Pastime” for calling two outstanding matches, and to the wonderful folks at Memorial Field at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia for providing us with a great place to play base ball.