This article can be found published on the Southern Chester County Weeklies‘ website.
Editor’s note: In the spirit of 19th-century base ball, the story is written with the game’s terminology used in the late 1800s. Immediately following the term, in parenthesis, is the word used in today’s time. Players in the league also refer to themselves in nicknames, which was common during that period of time.
POCOPSON – It was beginning to look as though the Brandywine Base Ball Club of West Chester would pile on the aces (runs) in the second match against the visiting Talbot Fair Plays, but later innings doomed the home club in an 11-6 loss Sunday afternoon in Pocopson Park.
“Muhl, our hurler, (pitcher) threw very well and our fielders played with good ginger (enthusiasm),” said Stonewall, the field captain. “It was a very clean game, but the Talbot players hit really well. They hit their spots and found holes in our defense.”
The match was played immediately after a first one against Talbot, with the visitors also taking the win by a tally of 13-8.
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However, Talbot received some help from Brandywine in the form of two ballers (players).
Coming into the game with just seven ballers, Talbot was in need of some help and Brandywine loaned two of their own to make it an even match.
Unfortunately for Brandywine, Tumbleweeds, who normally is a hurler or basetender (infielder), was put out as a scout (outfielder) in left.
“I think we found a new left fielder today,” Stonewall said. “He did very well out there.”
Tumbleweeds frustrated his club numerous times, and none more so than in the bottom of the fourth inning when Brandywine went three hands dead (three up, three down), all because of their teammate, who caught each of the sky balls (fly balls) hit in his direction in the inning.
“The guys teased him because he caught a lot on the bounce that he may have been able to catch on the fly,” Stonewall said. “But we just like to tease him.”
Brandywine jumped out to the early 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third.
After a sky ball from The Kid to none other than Tumbleweeds, King stirred his stumps (hustled) on a bug bruiser (sharp grounder) and made it safely to first.
With Stonewall at the dish (home plate), King successfully stole second. Stonewall then made it onto base with a single.
Both ballers then daringly pulled off a double steal, putting them on second and third.
Leather hit the horsehide (ball) to the hurler, but he was unable to get the ball to first in time, allowing King to score and Leather to reach base safely.
Muhl followed up with a huge double, sending the horsehide out to the wooden fence at the back of the garden (outfield), allowing for two more aces.
But that was the biggest inning Brandywine would have.
Talbot came up the next two innings and tied the match.
Then in the seventh and ninth, the visitors took the lead and never looked back.
“They were very quick and aggressive on the base pass,” Stonewall said. “That helped them out. There were a lot of close plays, but everyone played like gentlemen and helped each other out with fair calls when we could.”
Despite the loss, Brandywine was happy because they came away with three new ballers.
“We had some new guys show up, which is great,” Stonewall said. “ All of them did very well and, I’d say, probably helped us out and helped keep it close. They picked up the game and the rules instantly.”
One of the new ballers, given the nickname The Kid by his teammates, is fairly new to the area and is happy to have found a place to play ball.
“It was pretty cool and something I have never done before,” he said. “I played baseball when I was growing up, but never without a glove or a helmet. It was definitely a little different.”
Though the matches aren’t played the way he’s used to, the new baller plans to stay with the club.
“It was something I really enjoyed,” The Kids said. “I had a lot of fun. It’s a good stress reliever, that’s for sure, and a good way to start off the week.”