We Defy Competition

Match Report: Phoenix barbecue the Holstons, 10-5

The Holston Base Ball Club recently made their second sojourn west of the Cumberlands to meet the challenge of the Phoenix Club of East Nashville at Ravenswood Mansion. The bully boys adorned in their trademark gray shirts and crimson red trousers were eager to give the Knoxville boys a bout with pleasure. The match commenced in earnest at noon underneath a blazing sky. The bat toss was claimed by the Holstons who opted to open the first frame with their willows.

The Phoenix’s scouts made short work of the top of the Holstons’ roster as the latter club struggled to strike the onion past the former club’s basetenders. From the onset of the match, BBQ exhibited his artistry in the garden snagging scores of bounders, bug bruisers, and daisy cutters that he postmarked to Two Fingers at first sack for the hand dead. The Phoenix struck quickly and decisively in the bottom of the first frame as their onions rocketed off their bats beating both the Holston basetenders and scouts by a step or two. Even when the Holstons could manage to handle a skipping bounder, they failed, more often than not, to convert the hand dead with errant throws that fell far of their intended targets. Razzle Dazzle made his base and then promptly rounded the sacks to tally the first ace thanks to BBQ’s sacrifice to right field and Little Brother’s skimmer down the third sack line.

The Holstons opened the second frame with a bevy of single sackers that gradually moved Stove Pipe to third before Bugle Boy managed to make his base and score Pipe with a weak skimmer toward third that forced Lefty off his sack to make a play. With the sacks still loaded, Butter Bean fell victim to a cleverly hurled dew drop that left both him and Papaw grilled by BBQ’s speed as the Phoenix short stop turned a double play that slammed the Holstons’ second window shut.

The Phoenix tacked on two aces each in the second and fourth frames while the Holstons only managed a single ace. The score stood 5 to 2 after four full frames in the Phoenix favor when the Holstons’ timber awakened from their summer slumber. Molasses and Bugle Boy promptly made their base before Butter Bean sent a blooper that fell in between the Phoenix left and center fielders thus scoring Molasses. Doc them made his sack, moving Bugle Boy to third; however, Butter Bean was caught before he could manage second. Augie then unleashed a sockdolager that penetrated deep into center field for a double, scoring Bugle Boy and advancing Doc to third. With two hands dead and trailing by one ace, Doc opted to take off for home when Lil Skeeter struck a hard skimmer to BBQ at short. It was a gamble, but the Holstons were rewarded when BBQ’s throw home was bobbled by Udderguy allowing Doc safe passage to square the match. A flood of Holston aces was abruptly dammed up by the Phoenix center fielder who took handsomely to Mac’s cloud hunter.

The match looked to be won in the latter frames by which club could strike iron at the dish as the defense tightened up. Unfortunately for the Holstons, the bottom of the sixth proved to be their undoing. The Phoenix strikers found gaps within the Holston defense and suddenly opened up a five ace lead which they held when Counselor called the match in their favor after eight and a half frames. The loss brings the Holstons total to two this season and relegates them to the top of a three-way tie for second in the state. The Knoxville boys look to return to form before the surging Quicksteps of Spring Hill come calling at Colonel Ramsey’s House in less than a fortnight.

Match Report: Holston scouts defend home garden against Maroons, 8-1


The Holstons returned to their home grounds this past Saturday to do battle with the Nashville Maroons, the defending state champions.  The affair opened with a display of such artistry by both the basetenders and scouts of both clubs that came to characterize the match.  Scores of bug bruisers were snagged and sockdolagers and tip outs gobbled throughout as fans of the national game rooted on the ballists as they showed impressive sand in Colonel Ramsey’s lush garden to the east of town.

Roadblock and Bowleg frustrated the top of the Holston lineup as the first frame opened.  That said, the Kid and Sour Mash returned the favor to sender to close the window.  After tallying no aces through the first rotation of its roster, the Holstons struck gold in the third frame.  Augie and Mac proved their muscle as they found safe passage to the sacks and then were advanced to home dish thanks to a combination of strategically targeted long balls that penetrated the Maroons defense.  The visiting club managed to slam the third frame shut on the Holstons abruptly as the middle of the home club’s lineup was caught napping.  The Maroons looked to square the match in the bottom of the third on Roadblock’s stinger that split Augie and Lightning in right-center; however, the gun on Augie’s arm held a second Maroon ace hostage on third sack.

The contest continued to proceed through each window with such haste that Doc recalled throwing fewer than ten onions for most of the five frames that he stood at the pitcher’s point.  Mac and Augie were tested repeatedly in left and center thanks to the mighty timber wielded by the bully boys from Nashville; however, these veterans took handsomely to the onions that rocketed off the Maroons’ willows.  The Holstons opened up their lead in the top of the sixth as Stove Pipe, Hawkeye, Doc, and Lil Skeeter, cheered on by an exuberant Holston rooter stationed behind home dish, completed full orbits around the sacks.

The Maroons threatened to ring the bell in the eighth frame as a hot ball off Sticky Finger’s willow to left was mishandled by Mac, thereby allowing Shaky Legs to round third sack and bolt for home.  But Mac steadied himself and postmarked a bullet that was handsomely received by Doc, who then performed a half-pirouette to target the K on Lightning’s chest and the Holston catcher then tagged the tenacious Maroon out at home dish.  Sour Mash and Stove Pipe took out some insurance to protect the Holston lead in the ninth, giving the Kid and Lightning safe passage home to ring the bell.  The match was called just shy of an hour and half in the home club’s favor 8 to 1.  The win marked the Holstons’ 25th in regular season play.

Just as we were going to the printing press this morning we received news from Molasses that he has received a challenge from the Phoenix Club of East Nashville to play a match on the home grounds of the Travellers at Ravenswood Mansion in Brentwood on July 16.  He mentioned that he had to speak with Cannonball about the matter first, but owing to the fact that the grizzly, bearded warrior fancies an opportunity to play the boys in crimson and gray once again, he was keen on putting the matter in ink.

Match Report: Holstons right the ship against the Machinists, 12-3

After suffering their first loss against the Scouts, the Holstons looked to bounce back against the railroad boys of the Emmett Machinists.  The rematch pitted old friends once more on the battlefield at Colonel Ramsey’s garden.  Though the Colonel was not present, he no doubt ordered up the picturesque weather that characterizes early summer in the Great Valley of East Tennessee.  The affair got off to an explosive start thanks to the First East Tennessee Battery and the Machinists’ mighty timber that left many a Holston scouts scouring the Colonel’s garden for well-plucked onions.  Grasshopper, Baby Bird, and Rip tallied the first three aces of the match in the top of the first frame.  The Holstons steadied the ship and methodically worked their way through the inning before taking the dish.  Momentum shifted suddenly in the favor of the Holstons as Sour Mash sacrificed himself with a sockdolager to center that drove Augie in that broke a nearly month-long drought of aces.  After the next three Holstons in the roster made safe passage on to the sacks, Doc singled to bring the Kid in to get the Holstons within one ace.  Stove Pipe flexed his muckle before the first window closed to advance Lefty and Doc to put the Holstons in front.  The Holstons stout defense put on a clinic from this point forward with but one Machinist threatening to ring the bell.  Cannonball relayed a bevy of snagged daisycutters to Lefty at first, Doc bounded and somersaulted in right for a few hands dead, and Sour Mash and Stove Pipe gobbled a number of the Machinists’ huckleberries.  Laurels were handed out for expert catching by Kong and Bugle Boy, while Augie and Doc were flawless at the dish and tallied between them half of the Holstons aces.  Grapeshot called the match after the top of the ninth frame closed in the Holstons favor 12 to 3.

Match Report: Scouts humble Holstons 14-0

Our intrepid reporter just returned from touring the South and has, at last, prepared to remedy his backlog of base ball match reports.  Last month, the Knoxville Holstons Base Ball club played the sage Middle Tennessee noblemen of the Stewart’s Creek Scouts.  The former club attempted to defend not only its home garden, but also its unspoiled perfect season.  The Scouts’ timber proved too much muscle for the Holstons as the visiting club humbled the home club in a 14-0 thrashing, the likes of which the Holstons have not experienced since its maiden season

Match Report: Leonidas Cornelius Muffinmaker confirms a Holstons victory

A match game of base ball was purported to have been played east of town today in Colonel Ramsey’s garden between the Knoxville Holstons and the Travellers of Brentwood. Our usual reporter at the base ball matches was said to be seen at the Market House standing in long lines with hundreds of our townspeople as well as scores of visitors who were drawn like moths to the flame by the sumptuous aroma of fresh-baked biscuits that wafted through the streets. As such, another reporter was quickly dispatched to the depot to await the return of our club’s ballists and Travellers making their way back across the Cumberlands.

Only eight Travellers were counted disembarking from the No. 2 train. While they waited for the No. 1 express to reach town on its journey west, a few of the Middle Tennessee ballists told our reporter that they had won the affair by tallying 8 aces to the Holstons 5. Shortly thereafter, Holston scouts Lightning and Lil’ Skeeter slipped past our reporter before the Travellers account could be confirmed. But just as our paper was being readied for the printing press, Leonidas Cornelius Muffinmaker, the Great Prophet of the Smokies, who occasionally comes down from the mountains to serve as an arbiter, entered our offices with a basket filled of muffins in one hand. He passed out muffins to everyone in the room as he began to share an incredible account of the match.

Muffinmaker told a tale of an artist in the garden and a muckle at the dish named Dimples, who, though but a day over the legal age required to engage in the sport of base ball, wowed the spectators and left with a game ball. The legendary mountain baker and storyteller then put his basket of muffins down long enough to describe a sudden and catastrophic seat and fly seam failure that resulted in a second wardrobe malfunction for Sour Mash in as many matches. As soon as we inquired as to the final tally of aces, the muffin artisan paused for what seemed a fortnight as he caught a whiff of biscuits that suddenly permeated our offices thanks to a brisk late spring breeze. Muffinmaker soon came to his senses and confirmed a victory in the Holstons favor on the grounds that the Travellers arrived with only eight members of their club rather than the required nine.

Before he bid farewell, Muffinmaker told us that the Travellers arrived at Colonel Ramsey’s with news that the sage noblemen of the Stewart’s Creek Scouts have offered a challenge to the Holstons to do battle on the fabled Ramsey grounds in two weeks’ time. The Scouts seek to avenge the bitter ash of defeat from last summer’s Holston curse in which the home nine silenced Triton’s “wreathed horn” with a succession of toots from Bugle Boy’s cherished instrument.

Match Report: Holstons best the Farriers to remain unbeaten, 10-6

Several of the Knoxville Holston ballists returned to town today with news of a recent victory over the Franklin Farriers. The contest pitted two of Tennessee’s unbeaten base ball clubs in a match of athletic pursuits marked by civility and gentlemanly conduct played on the hallowed grounds of Carnton Plantation.

Skeeter opened the proceedings with a bat toss that was won by the Farriers. The home club chose to defend their field in the top frames while the visiting suspenders were tasked with closing the windows in Carnton’s garden. The Holstons, as they have done all season, harvested the match’s first ace. Lil’ Skeeter made his base and was granted an additional sack on an errant throw from Buttermilk to Mama’s Boy. Next up to the dish, the Kid sent a whizzer off his timber that landed in fair territory and skidded foul before it zipped past Buttermilk who was defending the third sack. Lil’Skeeter made third and the Kid bolted for second, confounding the Farrier basetenders who went after the latter, purported to be the fastest set of suspenders south of the Ohio. While the Kid appeared to circumnavigate the globe as he went back and forth from first to second, Lil’ Skeeter crossed home dish to ring the bell. After accomplishing the task at hand, the Kid’s tank ran empty and Mama’s Boy applied the tag.

The Holstons opened up a comfortable lead plating five aces in the second frame. Sour Mash plated first on a Molasses blooper to the outfield and in the process permanently distilled his suspenders. Bugle Boy, Molasses, Butter Bean, and Doc also completed full orbits of the sacks before the Farriers managed to stop the hemorrhaging of aces.

The match settled into a defensive affair with a number of outstanding feats of physical strength before the muckles unleashed their timber on their adversary’s basetenders and scouts. In doing so, both clubs succumbed to a bevy of errors in the middle frames as they attempted to take handsomely to shooters in the infield and ferocious sockdolagers struck deep into Carnton’s garden.

The Holstons managed to tack on an additional two aces in the top of the fifth frame courtesy of Mac’s cloud hunter that exploded off his willow and soared high into the atmosphere before plunging back to earth deep in center field for a sacrificed hand dead. In the meantime, Lil’Skeeter and the Kid took a leisurely stroll around the sacks from second and first respectively to ring the bell.

The Farriers returned the favor in the bottom of the fifth as Toothpick’s corker caused Molasses to stumble in right field enabling Buttermilk to trot home for the home club’s first ace. Hambone scored next as Sour Mash gave up the ace and opted to go for a play at second for an easier hand dead. In the sixth, Dinger placed a well hit onion that bounced into foul territory into the waiting hands of the Skipper, a Traveller, who momentarily forgot that he was scheduled to play in the second, rather than the first match. Needless to say, Mama’s Boy received safe passage home after Skeeter cleared his entry. In the seventh, the wheels on the Holstons’ wagon nearly came off as Nips caught Molasses napping in right which drove Slick home. Goob then struck a blooper over Sour Mash’s head to plate both Moose and Nips to get the Farriers to within two aces. The Holstons only managed to close the window on a disastrous seventh inning when Four Leaf’s sky hunter was assisted off Hawkeye to his son, Bugle Boy, for what one spectator referred to as an immaculate hand dead. The play was well-received by the faithful Holston fans as well as friends and families who made the journey west of the Cumberlands.

In the eighth, Mac conjured up yet another one of his patented sockdolagers that Buttermilk attempted to gobble; however, the futile effort resulted in a double for the newest Holston and plated the Kid who put the steam on as he raced off first sack. Cannonball then sacrificed himself to allow Mac an opportunity to toot the horn, a makeshift replacement after the Kid pulverized the home club’s beautiful brass bell upon scoring the previous ace.

Both clubs exhibited a number of excellent defensive plays to close the final one and half frames. Skeeter called the match a few minutes prior to two in the visiting club’s favor, 10-6. Laurels were granted to both clubs for their defensive prowess and Mac took honors at the dish for his 3 aces batted in on two well-shredded onions.

The Travellers Club of Brentwood, a rustic hamlet south of Nashville known for its bully-boys and banditry, will make the journey to the beautiful, plush garden of Colonel Ramsey in less than two weeks time where the Holstons hope to defend their home grounds and to remain unbeaten.

Match Report: A Holston deluge of aces flood the Lightfoot, 21-4


Doc Hardy, a ballist on the city base ball club, visited the office yesterday to inquire as to why a report documenting the Holstons’ recent match against the Lightfoot Club of Chattanooga had not yet been penned. With all due respect to the good Doc and the sport that many of our town’s men of all ages have recently taken up, we expressed our apologies for not reporting on the match in a timely manner. We fear the base ball fever has infected the minds of too many of our citizenry. In our humble opinion, politics and the economy are more pressing matters than a leisurely game of physical endurance. Purported ballists can be found engaged in this sport in the afternoons and evenings seven days a week while more pressing matters are neglected. Perhaps the Holston Nine and their spectators should be more focused on Governor Brownlow’s policies and their own fields which go untended.

That said, Doc provided us with a few of the match’s highlights as well as a series of moving images that he captured on his new camera. The match between the Holston Nine and the Lightfoot Club of Chattanooga, a motley crew of genetlemen barbers with such fine bowties, took place in Colonel Ramsey’s plush garden two weeks past. The match followed a riveting contest between the Emmett Machinists and the visiting Nashville Maroons. The mechanics that constitute the club north of the business district gave a valiant effort before yielding one ace to the bully boys west of the Cumberlands.

Grapeshot called the match to order at half past two. The tone of the contest was set from the first hurled onion as Augie, representing the home club, sent a line ball that skipped towards third sack before striking its target, the Bear’s right shin, with such ferocious fury that it then ricocheted off and rebounded into the clouds before Sweet Willie made an astonishing barehanded catch as he dove into the sweet embrace of Colonel Ramsey’s landscape. The rest of the first frame was characterized by the stout defense of both clubs.

The Lightfoot’s defense gradually wilted in the top of the second frame as Sour Mash and Lefty made safe passage on to the sacks before Molasses stepped to the dish. The gentleman farmer and a connoisseur of the fine arts and sciences advanced Sour Mash home as he postmarked a high blooper into center that was received on the bound by the Lightfoot scout; however, an errant throw to home dish resulted in Lefty tallying a second ace.

The Holstons staunch defense held firm for most of the match as Bugle Boy exhibited pluck around the dish, Augie returned an onion to sender from center to first sack, and a double play was turned by Stove Pipe’s rocket arm that defied scientific laws of motion, speed, and gravity as well as basic reason.

In the top of the fourth, Mac nearly decapitated the ever jovial Happy as his head-hunting onion enabled the Kid to put a third ace on the scoreboard. The favor was then returned as Lefty’s bug bruiser stung the Lightfoot scout at second enabling Mac to put the Holstons 4 aces clear of their guests.

Uncharacteristic breakdowns in the Holston defense netted 3 aces for the Lightfoot in the bottom of the fourth frame as the Bear, Sweet Wilie, and Buster each completed full orbits around the sacks. In the fifth, the Lightfoot squared the match on H.I.’s hot ball that punished Stove Pipe’s delicate undercarriage at second, thereby allowing Cap to cruise ninety feet to home dish.

In the sixth, the Holstons opened the floodgates thus causing a deluge of aces to rain down upon the Lightfoot. All but one of the Holstons tallied an ace as the home club plated an additional 17 aces while Doc and Hawkeye’s hurled onions kept the Lightfoot strikers nearly off the sacks over the final four frames.

Honors for the match go to solid defensive play on the part of the Holston scouts; however, an equal feat was achieved by Soul Man, the Lightfoot hurler, who snatched a scorching hot ball off of Hawkeye’s timber. Laurels at the dish goes to Lefty for his perfect striking and Molasses for giving safe passage to five Holston ballists. Molasses’ cackleberry alone rang the death knell of the Lightfoot.

The victory was the Holstons’ third in as many matches this season. Next up for the city club is a match against the Franklin Farriers on the latter’s home grounds at Carnton Plantation. The contest between two unbeatens scheduled for the first Sunday in May promises to be a barnburner.

Match Report: Holstons win over Cumberlanders


The lovers of the national game were offered quite a treat when base ball returned to Colonel Ramsey’s serene gardens this past weekend. Ballists from both city clubs turned out to play visiting teams from west of the plateau. The Emmett Machinists were geared up for a seesaw game that favored the Travellers of Brentwood who squeaked out a 14 to 13 victory over their hosts before the ninth window closed abruptly.

In the afternoon match, the Knoxville Holstons met a new adversary in the Cumberland Club of Nashville. These bully boys adorned in a majestic blue only rivaled by the prismatic undulations of the mighty Cumberland River itself call President Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage their home garden. Cornbread, the club’s captain, is an old hand with the onion in the state of Tennessee who has worn both the suspenders of the Franklin Farriers and the vests of the Stewarts Creek Scouts. He is also known for beaning Holstons standing at the dish due to his unorthodox hurling.
At half past two, Grizzly awoke from his winter’s hibernation to preside over the bat toss. The home club claimed the tossed bat and chose to defend their garden in the top frames while striking to close the windows on each inning.

The tone of the match was set early as the Cumberland Nine struggled to orbit the sacks as the Holstons’ scouts and basetenders preserved their garden’s honor. Catfish and the Professor hastily postmarked bloopers into left where they were received by Mac. Rip then made first sack on a misfielded onion by the Kid at short; however, Cannonball’s offspring redeemed himself by tagging Rip out at second after Burnside’s daisycutter trickled to Stove Pipe who happened to be lolling between first and second sack.

The Holstons first appearance at the sack yielded enough aces to accomplish the task at hand. Although Augie uncharacteristically failed to reach first sack, Little Skeeter and the Kid plucked the Cumberland’s defenses for base hits. Mac then launched a cloud hunter that sent the Professor deep into a marsh created by a deluge of rainfall that preceded the match. The unfortunate Cumberland scout failed to secure the hand dead before becoming plugged in Ramsey’s wetland as he landed on his backside ruining his bright pristine uniform. Mac was rewarded with a two-sacker and an ace batted in as Little Skeeter tallied the first ace of the match. Sour Mash next struck his patented moon onion that sent Catfish, the Cumberland’s swift left fielder, scrambling backwards into the thickets for the second dead hand, but not before providing the Kid and Mac safe passage to home dish. The first frame closed suddenly before any additional aces could be tallied when Lefty’s sky ball was incarcerated by the light-footed Catfish who snatched the onion and deprived Sour Mash from ringing the bell.

As the second frame opened, both clubs settled into a defensive tug-of-war with spectacular barehanded catches that elicited a host of applause and huzzahs from fans and ballists alike. The Kid marveled at short snatching an onion with his left hand and drawing up two double hands dead. Bugle Boy, Butter Bean, and Violet each snagged onions behind the dish and Rip spectacularly ran down a blooper that was heading toward the fans along first sack.

In the midst of this artistry in the garden, the Holstons tallied two additional aces when Stove Pipe completed a full orbit of the sacks in the third frame and Butter Bean’s sacrifice in the sixth paved Bugle Boy’s rendezvous with the bell that tolled the home club’s fifth ace. Kept scoreless through six frames, the Cumberland Nine tallied their first ace when Rip raced across the dish on a sacrifice banjo hit to center. In the next frame, Rip sent a bug bruiser that raced past the Kid in short allowing Catfish to stroll across home dish for the visting club’s second ace. When the Cumberland Nine failed to tally any additional aces in the ninth, Grizzly called the match in the home club’s favor 5 to 2 and awarded the game ball to their captain. The game was perhaps the fastest match played in Knoxville’s history as the affair lasted just shy of ninety minutes.

The Holstons, who remain perfect in this year’s campaign, have challenged the Lightfoot Club of Chattanooga and they have accepted. The match is to be played at Ramsey’s House on April 22 as part of a double header with the Machinists who will play the first game at noon. The Holstons will play at approximately half past two.

Match Report: Holstons open the season with a win against the Machinists, 22-7


Knoxville’s ballists recently played a match at Rocky Mount State Historic Site in Piney Flats that opened the season on base ball in Tennessee. Last year’s game proved a barnburner as the Holstons bested the railroad boys of the Emmett Machinists by a single ace in a high scoring match that seesawed throughout each of the nine frames.

The Holstons have had a couple recent retirements as Freight Train and Gasser, both charter members of the club, have hung up their K’s. In their stead, Lightning and Mac, formerly of the Machinists and the Lightfoot respectively, have adopted suspenders for this year’s campaign. Both proved instrumental in the Holstons’ 22 to 7 victory over the Machinists in the second battle at Rocky Mount. Lightning went a perfect 4 for 4 at the dish, batted 4 Holstons around the sacks, and tallied 2 aces for himself. Meanwhile, Mac proved an artist in left field and completed 3 orbits around the sacks. Another notable achievement worthy of mention includes Butter Bean’s spectacular game as he proved nearly flawless at the dish, equaled Lightning and Cannonball in batting 4 Holstons around the sacks, and tallied 2 aces of his own. All but one Holston tallied an ace in a dominating performance in which the Knoxville club secured their first opening day victory in 4 years. They have challenged the Cumberland Club, a new team from Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, to a match to be played on April 8 at half past two at the Holstons’ home garden at Colonel Ramsey’s House.