We Defy Competition

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.

 

Match Report: Holstons Gobble the Phoenix’s Huckleberry, 10-4

A match game of base ball was recently played on the grounds of Colonel Ramsey’s exquisite plantation between the Holston Club of this city and the Phoenix Club, a coterie of gentleman ballists whose exploits in their past three matches at both the dish and in the garden has awarded them a reputation as “bully boys.”

The Holstons looked to right their wagon and halt the Phoenix winning streak.  However, the home club had thrown away a few victories in the first half of the season as a consequence of their struggles at the dish and incessant number of muffs in the garden.  Moreover, winning would prove a tall order for the Holstons who were down two ballists.  Samson, the club’s muckle at the dish and artist in left field, is currently at sea in the Atlantic bound for the fierce and desolate desert and rugged mountainous regions of Morocco where he intends to play in the sand and dirt for the next month.  Hawkeye, whose onions are hurled at a good clip, perhaps the fastest in the South, arrived with his left shoulder tightly bandaged as a consequence of his visit to Sawbones following a tumble he took in the Holstons’ last match against the Machinists.

As the noon hour neared and rooters began to arrive by both wagon and the Three Rivers Rambler Special Express, things seemed to go from bad to worse for the Holstons.  Sour Mash and Doc were loosening their limbs when the latter attempted to bare nose, rather than bare hand, the onion.  The results were disastrous for the Holston hurler.  Doc retired to his tent to halt the bleeding, but not before having to wave off Sawbones who eagerly rushed over with his tools ready to amputate.  Albeit lightheaded and a little weary, Doc emerged ready  to answer arbiter Grapeshot’s opening ceremonial call.

The match commenced a few minutes past noon with the Holstons winning the bat toss.  The Phoenix opened the first frame with their fierce foursome of Chicago, Dickins, BBQ, and Lefty.  Chicago swung at Doc’s patented dew drop resulting in a tip out to Bugle Boy in the catcher’s position who scooped up the prize for the first hand dead.  Dickins then packaged a blooper to left which was promptly received by Lefty for the second hand dead.  Next, BBQ cooked up a sockdolager that nearly ripped the lemon peel off the onion as it soared over Stove Pipe’s head at second and skedaddled past the Holstons’ last line of defense deep into Colonel Ramsey’s bellows, thus enabling the Phoenix muckle to make two bases.  Lefty then answered Grapeshot’s “striker to the line” in the hope that a well-placed ball would grant BBQ safe passage home.  Lefty passed on Doc’s first two balls; however, he chose to bite on the third, a boodler of a hurl that began on one side of the dish but veered to the other as if guided by a strong southerly gale.  Consequently, Lefty struck a bounder appropriately left of first that prompted Gasser to abandon his post to field the onion.  Doc made haste towards first beating Lefty to the sack as Gasser flipped the ball to Doc to close the Phoenix’s first frame.

Augie set the tone for the Holstons’ explosive first frame as he stepped to the dish.  Nails stood opposite at the pitcher’s point and hurled a ball that drifted away from the striker and the dish; however, Augie reached for it and sent a cloud hunter deep to right that fell back to earth but a few feet left of the foul line.  By the time the Phoenix scout reached Augie’s mighty pluck, the Holston center scout was already rounding second to make his base and claim yet a third sack.  Molasses, the home club’s captain then sent a stinger past the Phoenix’s short stop who chose not to field the ball for fear of incurring a first degree burn.  Molasses easily made his base while Augie strolled home to tally the first ace of the match.  Lefty then hit a ball that dropped in front of his feet and took a wicked spin backwards to the catcher whose throw to first prompted Grapeshot to tie a bandana to the backstop to signal the first hand dead.  Next, Cannonball’s blooper scaled over the Phoenix’s infield defenses before planting itself in the Colonel’s garden to secure first sack.  Meanwhile, Molasses stirred his stumps from second to tally the Holstons’ second ace.  Little Skeeter then made first on a muffed ball that piddled over to his adversary’s bench , thus advancing Cannonball to second.  Gasser caught Nails’ ball in the same manner as Augie had to lead off; however, this time the Phoenix defense moved quicker and the throw arrived at second at the same time as Gasser, prompting Grapeshot to ask a rooter for a decision that went in the favor of the Phoenix.  Lost in the excitement over whether Gasser had made his base or whether the Phoenix basetender had tagged him out was the fact that Cannonball had rang the bell to announce the Holstons’ third ace of the inning.  With two hands dead, Stove Pipe stepped to the dish and sent a hot ball that parted Snookie Roy’s hair at second providing Little Skeeter a path home.  As the Phoenix attempted to get the onion in to the pitcher’s point, an errant throw from second sailed over Nails’ head and raced past the backstop as Crash was clearing the Holstons’ ordinance from the dish.  Rooters shouted to Stove Pipe to take advantage of the muff and take second.  With Pipe at second, Sour Mash launched a moon onion that was beautifully missed as the Phoenix scout in center attempted to gobbled Sour Mash’s huckleberry.  Mash’s two-sacker enabled Stove Pipe to dial down his blazing stumps and skip across the dish for the Holstons’ fifth ace.  The home club’s explosive start abruptly fizzled out as Bugle Boy was thrown out trying to make his base.

The Holstons’ five aces would prove sufficient to foil the Phoenix’s hopes of claiming in their fourth victory in as many matches.  Nevertheless, the Holstons’ ordinance department proved capable of further exploiting the Phoenix defensive lines as Papaw, Little Skeeter, Gasser, Augie, and Molasses rounded the sacks to give the home club a total of ten aces after five innings.

Picking up where they left off in the first, the Holston’s stout defense and the hurling duo of Doc and Papaw stifled their adversary’s timber.  The Phoenix failed to send no more than five ballists to the dish in each of the next six frames.  Moreover, the Holstons retired the side in order in half of these frames.  Such a performance has been few and far between since last season when the Holstons won a league tying eight matches in the season thanks to its scouts’ defensive prowess.

The only chink in the Holstons’ armor appeared in the eighth frame.  Having retired the first two batters in an expeditious manner, the home club seemed more eager to roast in the sun to achieve a golden tan rather than answer Butter Bean’s call for “one more boys gets us shade.”  The Phoenix timber, which had proved largely immune to Doc and Papaw’s battery of balls, suddenly caught fire.  The top of the lineup sent a deadly volley of onions that not only were beautifully missed in the field but also resulted in a couple of costly muffs bringing the balls in, which enabled the Phoenix to escape the match sans a shutout.  Chicago, Dickens, BBQ, and Lefty each tallied an ace for the visiting club before Augie caught Horsefly’s shooter to center on the bound and managed to stop the hemorrhaging of aces.

At the close of the Phoenix’s ninth frame, Grapeshot called the match in the Holstons’ favor, 10 to 4.  The Knoxville ballists celebrated the club’s fifteen victory with their loyal rooters, but not before the game ball was awarded to Augie whose artistry in the garden was only surpassed by his mastery of the Phoenix at the dish.  The Holston muckle was denied hitting for the cycle of sacks in the top of the eighth frame when his line ball to left, which snuck past Chicago, somehow managed to cut enough blades of grass in Colonel Ramsey’s garden to reach the thickets, thus denying Augie his second four-sacker in the past month.  Furthermore, laurels were also awarded to Stove Pipe for his perfect striking.  It is no coincidence that Stove Pipe has plucked more balls since he has traded his flashy Corn Dog for Doc’s vigorous timber.

Having maintained a perfect record against the Phoenix, the Holstons look to do the same against the Nashville Maroons at General Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage on August 24.

Game stats