Bay City visits Walker Tavern Walker Tavern, Brooklyn, Michigan August 7, 2016
Bay City 25, Walker Tavern 22
There was quite a crowd gathering about Walker Tavern in Brooklyn, Michigan on a fine, Sunday, summer afternoon, when the Independents of Bay City pulled in with their wagons after a long sojourn to the south. Many of the Bay Citys had spent an evening in a small burg not far from the Tavern, and enjoyed some spirited fellowship around the counsel fire whilst they laid plans for the journey to Brooklyn. There may, or may not have been some dabbling of the bark juice, which some spectators suggested might lead to some slow play come the morn, but the sage advice was not heeded. Perhaps it should have been.
The Independents would win the bat toss, and yielded to the Brooklyn strikers, who took full advantage of the firm onion, and some not so heady play. Before the first innings came to close for the defending World’s Tournament Champion, the Wheels would send 17 strikers to the line. They would plate 12 aces, cabbage many a bag, and collect several howitzers. The lead striker Bullet was just that collecting two, two baggers in a row, with Koala, making his second, and Bones was able to make a complete circuit of the bases plating a home run.
Having been bludgeoned by the Brooklyns for what seemed eternity, the Bay Citys took to striking in their first, and miraculously had some ginger left to spare. The Independents had their first five strikers make their base, and subsequently four of them would make their ace. It was a good start, but still far from a tight scratch at 12-4 in favor of the Walker Tavern gents.
Both clubs would slap on the whitewash in their second innings, but a triple by the long fielder, Marbles, would drive in two more aces in the Brooklyn third. Marbles would then tally thanks to a Brickyard sky ball that was bottled in style in left field. Jimmy “Two Quarts” Arnold would then mount a return charge in the Bay City third making his first on a garden grabber. The next five strikers would each make their first, as the Independents began a parade around the pillows, that culminated with a howitzer from the bat of Jeff “Silverback” Rahl, which had Rahl make his second, while driving two runners to tally. When the dust had settled upon the savannah at Walker Tavern, the Bay Citys had drawn closer in the match at 10 to 15.
In the fourth innings the Brooklyn boys would roll up their sleeves, and go back to work with the willows. The first two strikers Bones and Bulldog made their way onto the bases bringing up the “General” Jeff Lee, who drove a bounder straight to the pitcher, Cap Johnson. Johnson turned, and wheeled and threw the ball well beyond the reach of the Bay City first sacker, Jeff “Ink” Hicks. That allowed the runner for Lee to advance to third, and brought Bones and Bulldog to tally. The errant throw was a huge blunder, as the next two strikers lost their hands with relative ease. Had the ball been handled well, than nary a run would have tallied in the Brooklyn fourth, but the Wheels had only begun to make the Bay Citys pay for this costly mistake, as Crazylegs Terwilliger would make his first, then tally on another howitzer from Marbles, who made his second. Marbles would make his ace thanks to another clout into the long field from Brickyard who nimbly made his third, and he would then tally thanks to another safety from the bat of Iron Ore. The Brooklyns now put 21 aces in the book in just four innings of work.
Justin “Jumper” Gielda led a flanking maneuver in the Bay City fourth, which proved fruitful tallying three more runs for the Independents with the wildest wallop coming from the bat of Alan “Kid” Garcia who would drive home Jayme “Cap” Johnson, and Ryan “Copper” Glaser. After four innings each the match was 21 to 13 in favor of the Wheels of Brooklyn.
In the fifth innings the Bay Citys turned the ball over to Tom “Cat” LeRoux who would whitewash the Wheels in quick fashion. The Wheels however, would return the favor in both the fifth and sixth innings. In the meantime, they tallied a run of their own in the sixth. After six innings each the Brooklyns held a commanding lead at 22 to 13.
Cat LeRoux returned to the stripe for Bay City, and coaxed the tavern gents into three sky balls that were each bottled handily, and skunked the Wheels for the second time in three innings. The Bay City drought would end thanks to another enfilade from the bottom of the order, but this time the volley would be started by Nate “Grizzly” Hall, which was followed by another garden grabber from Jimmy “Two Quarts” Arnold. Arnold and Hall would each tally on a long drive into the right garden by Ryan “Copper” Glaser. Glaser would make his second on the clout, and would move to third on a sky ball from Alan “Kid” Garcia, and then tallied on similar blow from Wesley Redstick Perry. That would put three more runs in the book for Bay City as they now trailed 22 to 16 after 7 innings.
LeRoux’s mastery would continue in the eighth with only one base runner reaching for the Walker gang, and another coat of whitewash upon the Tavern gate. The Bay Citys however, would not go as quietly. Jeff “Silverback” Rahl would make his base safely for the third time in the contest, and would move to second thanks to a muckle shot from Jeremy “Schoolboy” Stedry. Rahl would move to third, but the school master would lose his hand on a ground ball to second base from the bat of Matt “Barrel Roller” Barnard. That brought runners to third and first for the Independents, with Justin “Jumper” Gielda facing Iron Ore the Wheels pitcher. Gielda leaned into an offering and made his first driving home Rahl, and moving Barnard onto the second. Cap Johnson then stepped in and delivered the ball into the right garden to make his first driving home Barnard, and moving Gielda to third. Gielda would then cabbage home on an errant pitch that allowed Johnson to move to second. The inning would end there however, but Bay City had put their third three upon the board, and now trailed 22 to 19.
The Wheels now had the meat of their order to face Cat LeRoux, and Jim “Crazylegs” Terwilleger, the Brooklyn captain, made his first with a fine drive, and then pilfered his second. The next striker Mike “Marbles” Fini then attempted to take a LeRoux offering to the opposite field of his striking, and it appeared it may drop in, but a falling catch from the Bay City second sacker, Jim “Two Quarts” Arnold saved the sphere from finding the sod. There was now one hand dead. Brickyard then made his first, on a daisy cutter that never left the infield, which held Terwiliger at second. That brought Iron Ore to the dish, where he too attempted to drive the ball into the opposite field, but his effort was far superior causing Kid Garcia, the right fielder, to track towards the high grass at a gallop. Garcia would reach up and cradle the orb on the fly, and in one motion, pivot and return the ball to the infield holding the retreating runners in place. The next hand would be killed on a routine sky ball bottled by Jeremy “Schoolboy” Stedry in the left field. Thus ending the threat and skunking the Wheels for the third straight inning.
Bay City was now down to their final three outs, now trailing by three runs, and again Jimmy “Two Quarts” Arnold would step to the fore, making this first on an infield daisy cutter, and nearly tearing his lower extremities in half as he strained to keep his base. Arnold would then make his way to second on a ball that bounded past the catcher. Then Ryan “Copper” Glaser would hit a ball that was taken by the pitcher Iron Ore, and relayed to first to kill the Bay Citys first hand. Up stepped Alan “Kid” Garcia, who promptly drove the apple deep into the orchard to tally Arnold, and make his second safely. The tension was thick now, as Wes “Redstick” Perry stepped to the plate, and crushed the first offering he saw, but alas the left fielder, Mike “Marbles” Fini would step in front of the cannon shot, and caught it neatly in the chest. There was now but one hand left for Bay City, with Garcia standing at second. That’s when Jeff “Ink” Hicks found the gap in the long field which drove home Garcia, and put Hicks squarely upon the second sack with the tying run. Hicks would request a runner, which in this case meant that Perry would replace him upon the sack. Tanner LeRoux would move Perry to third with a muckle shot of his own that put him on first sack. Now with runners at first and third, LeRoux was determined to play the points and tore off to thieve his second. The Walker catcher, sure that he could nab LeRoux threw the ball towards the second sack, where LeRoux simply stopped his advance in the hopes of distracting the Brooklyn fielder. His ruse worked, for the momentary lapse allowed the lunging Perry to cross the plate just before the throw to home. Subsequently, the throw home allowed LeRoux to venture onto second sack. The inning would be ended however, as the next hand was lost, but the match once well beyond their reach, was now tied at 22-22.
The Brooklyns were not to be satisfied with a tie, and so an extra inning was to be played, but the Wheels would be turned away again in their tenth, and so the match would be turned over to the surging Independents. Jeff “Silverback” Rahl would lead the way in this go around making his first thanks to a hot drive to the third sacker. The next hand would be bottled by Fini in left field, and there was one hand down. Matt Barrel Roller Barnard then found the long field with a neatly placed ball, which moved Rahl to second. That brought Justin “Jumper” Gielda to the plate again, and again he found the long field making his first, and advancing the runners. Now Cap Johnson took his turn with the bases full, and only one man down. Johnson stood in for two pitches before placing the apple squarely into the trees in the right long field, which drove home Rahl with the go ahead run. The competitive portion of the contest ended, and the uphill struggle complete, the Bay Citys continued on as Matt “Barrel Roller” Barnard then stole home for the second run of the inning, which allowed Gielda and Johnson to advance one base each. Gielda would then tally to complete the fifth three run inning for the Independents in the contest, thanks to a sky ball from the bat of Grizzly Hall. The scoring would end there, with Bay City still in possession of the State Champions Cup, and a smile on many a face.
The two clubs would exchange congratulations, and settle in for refreshments. It will be a long time before this match is forgotten, as the Bay Citys proved their mettle against a mighty club, and showed that they were no Sisyphus, as they were able to reach the top of their uphill battle.
August 7, 2016 – Bay City Independents vs Walker Tavern Wheels in Brooklyn, MI