We Defy Competition

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

Match Report: Holstons Wilt as Machinists Claim Their First Battle for Knoxville, 10-8


This past weekend a number of base ball enthusiasts gathered at the Three Rivers Rambler depot on the west side of town near the college to board its special express. At the same time, scores of wagons passed through the countryside along the Thorngrove Pike. The cavalcade of horsepower converged at Colonel Ramsey’s splendid garden shortly before the noon hour. As rooters both young and old found shade under the trees or pitched their tents, the Knoxville Holstons and Emmett Machinists loosened up by tossing and striking the onion. A buzz resonated in the air and ran around the Colonel’s plantation, accompanied by raised eyebrows as Grizzly, the match’s arbiter, called the proceedings to order and announced the recent history between the clubs. The match was the fourth meeting between these two clubs. The Holstons held a 3-0 advantage over their local adversaries in the series; however, the most recent game played two weeks prior had gone down to the wire, decided by a single ace.

The latest installment in the Battle for Knoxville commenced with the bat toss which was won by the Machinists, who deferred to the Holstons. The throng had hardly settled back for an afternoon of thrilling base ball when Samson, wielding his club’s leading ace-making willow, stepped to this dish. As one last Spring breeze blew down the East Tennessee valley and through the garden, the Holston muckle’s timber sliced through the atmosphere, violently striking the onion. Samson and his bewitching locks must have cast a spell on the Machinist scout for he appeared frozen in left field as the ball roared over his head and landed dangerously close to foul territory. As the Machinist raced to the brush to retrieve the blazing vegetable, Augie and Little Skeeter rounded the sacks and called for Samson to seek shade rather than remain at third. Before the ball reentered the infield, Samson rang the bell for his second 4-sacker in as many matches. The Holstons plated two additional aces in the fourth thanks to Augie’s decisive hot ball to center in which Doc rounded the sacks from first, followed by Little Skeeter’s sacrifice slow bounder to first that provided Augie safe passage home. After three and half frames, the Holstons had deposited five aces into their account whereas the Machinist maintained a zero balance as the Holstons’ scouts took handsomely to their rivals’ balls.

But the wheels came off the Holstons’ wagon in the bottom of the fourth as they wilted in the garden, failing to tag their way out of the inning by obtaining the third hand dead before the Machinists made them pay. This would be the Holstons’ undoing as their adversary would net half of their aces in this manner. Moreover, the Holston willows cooled off and they struggled to get through their roster. The Colonel proved lightning quick on the sacks while the mighty willows brandished by Rip, Grasshopper, and Mongo dealt a decisive blow over the course of a few innings.
As the eighth window opened, the score stood Machinists 10, Holstons 5. Having come from behind two weeks ago, the Holstons licked their chops as they began to work through the roster with Little Skeeter and Samson making their second orbits around the sacks to close the gap to three. Unfortunately, the Holstons soon found themselves in the middle of the roster and these willows proved resistant to well-placed line balls. In the ninth, Sour Mash snuck across the dish to get his club to within two as Freight Train and Rip frolicked in the field with one another after the latter tagged the former out. Down to their last hand dead, Butter Bean sent a hot bounder directly toward Biscuit who received it on the bound to close the match.

Grizzly called the ballists together and announced the score 10-8 in favor of the Machinists who claimed their first victory over the Holstons. Laurels went to Biscuit for his stout defense at the pitcher’s point and the Colonel for stirring his stumps around the sacks. Rip, Grasshopper, and Mongo were acknowledged for their ace-making timber. On the Holstons’ side, Samson claimed honors for striking his second 4-sacker in as many matches and being responsible for four Holston aces.

As the summer arrives, the Holston club will take a much-needed rest. While some plan to travel during the national holiday and others pray for amnesia after a difficult first half of the season, one notorious Holston seemed eager to get back to his farm and lounge in his cow trough. In the meantime, rooters of the national game in the East Tennessee valley will have to wait patiently until July 9 until base ball is played once again in Colonel Ramsey’s garden.

Game Stats

Match Report: Holstons win a barnburner against the Machinists, 22-21

Rooters of the national game in Northeast East Tennessee were recently treated to a special match between Knoxville’s two base ball clubs–the Holstons and the Emmett Machinists. Both clubs have struggled this season. Winless in its first four matches, the Holstons were nearly disemboweled in their last match against the Travellers of Brentwood. Meanwhile, the Machinists have been denied a victory since opening day. The Knoxville ballists met on a lovely garden at Rocky Mount and were greeted by a throng of spectators, many of whom eagerly sought the signatures and an opportunity to take a likeness with the sporting gentlemen. Some in attendance were unfamiliar with the game that has only recently arrived in this state. Therefore, a number of the ballists mingled with the crowd prior to the match to introduce the novices to the rules of the game. Both clubs began to warm up an hour prior to the match; however, a few of the ballists preferred to remain in the shade with the spectators as the mercury soared into the upper eighties. One Holston welcomed the summer-like heat and humidity. Grinning ear to ear he observed that the Holston Club had lost but one match in such conditions during its first two seasons.

The ballists assembled at high noon for introductions. By this time there were more than two hundred rooters lining the first sack side of the garden and among the trees near the foul line in left field. Upper East Tennessee’s Congressman, currently at home during the summer recess in Washington, hurled the first onion directly over the dish followed by calls to “sign him up.” Pickaxe presided over the bat toss that went in favor of the Machinists, who preferred to take the field first, batting at the bottom of each inning.

The fans did not have to wait long to see the onion struck well and scores of aces tallied. The Holstons nearly checked off their roster in the first inning as they plated four times. The Machinists then took a turn at the dish and their willows proved to be as equally efficient as those wielded by the Holstons as they bested their rivals by an ace. The second frame witnessed as many aces as the first; however, the Holstons took a commanding lead over the Machinists as they managed eight complete orbits around the sacks capped off by Samson’s first 4-sacker of the season, a clean home run unassisted by poor fielding. The high scoring nature of the match was not evidence of poor defense on the part of the scouts in the field but rather a result of scores of well-positioned long balls that exploited the gaps in both club’s defense. After two innings, the score stood 12 to 6 in the favor of the Holston Club.

Few expected the blazing number of aces to continue for more than a couple of innings; however, the Machinists began showing sand and made their sacks tallying four aces each in the next two innings. Moreover, the Holstons’ combination of stingers, bounders, sky balls, and the occasional moon onion kept the Machinists dancing from left to right on the field of battle as the former scored one ace in the third and two more in the fourth. Yet the ballists with red K’s proudly stitched to their chests squandered the opportunity to extend the lead leaving four potential aces stranded on the sacks as some were caught napping while another tipped out to the catcher. The wheels of the Holstons’ wagon appeared to come off as they failed to reach home dish from the 5th to the 7th inning, retired in order by the stout Machinist defense in two of the three innings. Meanwhile, the Machinists methodically chipped away at the Holstons’ lead with an arsenal of bug bruisers and cloud hunters to either field that kept their adversaries in the garden guessing. After seven, the Machinists had climbed out of the hole they dug themselves to take the lead, 16 to 15.
A barnburner ensued as the last two frames opened. The Holstons’ willows were awakened from their momentary slumber in the top of the 8th as Samson, Cannonball, and Lefty rounded the sacks to reach home dish and put their club two aces clear of the Machinists. It is quite possible the Holstons may have scored more; however, Doc’s skimmer failed to clear the infield and became ensnarled in the defensive perimeter laid out by the Colonel between third and shortstop thus catching Papaw out as he made his run from second. Having dug themselves out of a deep hole once before, the Machinists steeled themselves for the task at hand. They responded in kind as they opened up a battery of line balls and bounders that were beautifully missed as they escaped past the Holstons’ infield defenses. Doc Archer, Counselor, Moon Calf, and Rip each scored to turn the Machinists’ two-ace deficit into a two-ace surplus.

As the final frame opened, Butter Bean stepped to the dish and appeared to send a shooter past second sack but Doc Archer raced it down to rob the Bean of his fifth hit of the match. Next up was Doc, who looked for redemption following his debacle in the 8th. He sent yet another bounder toward the Colonel at third; however, this time the Machinist basetender would have to deliver a cannonball toward first to put the Holstons down to their last hand dead. The Colonel took the onion on its second bound and hustled the ball to Rip at first as Doc stirred his stumps, kicking the chalk of the first sack line up with his moccasins. Doc beat the throw and managed to effectively apply his brakes to prevent forward motion from carrying him off the sack. Then Augie delivered a sockdolager to center field that led to the second Holston clean home run of the match. A buzz of excitement reverberated throughout the throng as Doc and Augie plated to even the score at 20. Molasses then sent a sky ball that barely cleared the pitcher and was tracked down by a hard charging Doc Archer from second who put on a juggling exhibition of the onion for the fans before bringing it to rest in his hands. The inning nearly ended when Samson’s two bound bug bruiser to short was fielded handsomely; however, the throw was not quick enough to catch Samson and his bewitching locks out at first. Fortune smiled yet again for the Holstons as Cannonball’s timber struck the onion in a way that it hit a hair in front of the dish and took a wicked spin forward approximately ten feet confounding Kong, the Machinist catcher, who could not track it down before the Holston father-son duo made their sacks. Lefty, the Holston wrong-sider, then stepped into Biscuit’s dew drop and sent a hot ball to left field that rolled for a double, thus permitting Samson to score and Cannonball to take a leisurely stroll into third. As if further proof that providence was shining on the Holstons, Stove Pipe delivered a bounder directly to the Machinist shortstop whose throw to first fell short, taking a hard bounce over Rip’s head enabling the Holston striker to take second sack and Cannonball to reach home dish. The Holstons run came to an abrupt end when Bugle Boy’s cloud hunter was gobbled by Mongo in left. Yet the Holstons’ four aces was enough for a 22 to 20 advantage.

The ninth frame was only halfway closed. The Machinists needed two aces to extend the match, three to win. It did not seem a tall order for they had already scored either four or five aces in half of the innings played. Biscuit led off with a daisy cutter fielded by Molasses at third; however, the throw to first was mishandled and ended up among the spectators, thus granting the Machinist striker an express ticket to second. The Colonel then sent a deadly stinger that nearly amputated Stove Pipe’s right arm at second before his ball piddled into the outfield. Biscuit raced home to get the Machinist within one ace while the Colonel, representing the tying ace, jogged into second. With no hands dead, the Holstons’ scouts prepared to tighten their defenses between the sacks and deep in the garden. Grasshopper sent a cloud hunter that was fielded on the fly by Lefty at short for the first out. Next, King Kong swung at a high pitch that resulted in yet another cloud hunter that sailed just left and beyond the third sack into foul territory; however, Molasses tracked it down on the fly for two hands dead. Finally, Haymaker took several looks at Papaw’s battery of pitches before striking a beautifully delivered dew drop that was sent skyward, hunting the clouds above Rocky Mount and beyond, before reentering the earth’s atmosphere. As Haymaker’s moon onion descended to the earth, Lefty exclaimed, “I’ve got it!” Lefty’s cry was loud enough to be heard by his faithful fans in Knoxville, who were no doubt huddled around the telegraph office on Gay Street awaiting reports from the field. The sound of a pin drop could be heard across the garden as all watched Lefty race from his position at short to gobble the Machinists’ huckleberry at second thus securing the Holstons their first victory of the season.

After a fierce contest waged over nine grueling innings, the adversaries on the field of battle embraced one another as gentlemen and friends playing the game they love. Pickaxe announced the score as 22 to 21 in favor of the Holstons and called for spectators of all ages interested in striking the onion and running the sacks to take a turn at the dish. Several of the ballists delayed the trip back to Knoxville to toss the onion with a number of young enthusiasts of the national game.

The Machinists’ captain has challenged the Holstons to a rematch in Knoxville on Colonel Ramsey’s garden at high noon on June 18. Rooters of the national game should clear their calendar as this match promises to be yet another hard fought contest between gentlemen of honor and civility.

Game Stats

Match Report: Holstons Fall Victim to the Travellers’ Hornet’s Nest, 26-4

The Holstons recently made their first visit to Nashville’s Capitol garden to play the Travellers Club of Brentwood, who had sought a rematch after losing to the former club on a soggy field in Knoxville last summer. During the introductions of both clubs, the trained eye of an avid enthusiast of the national game in Tennessee might have immediately noticed two things. First, the Knoxville club appeared shorthanded. Scores of rooters were overheard along both sides of the garden inquiring as to the whereabouts of Augie, Butter Bean, Lefty, and Samson, the Holstons’ most feared muckles. Second, it did not escape anyone’s attention that both Cannonball and Hawkeye were wearing casts on their hands. Cannonball reportedly suffered an injury from an incoming onion during a match at Chattanooga two weeks prior; however, mystery swirled throughout the Capitol grounds as to the origins of Hawkeye’s wrapped left hand. Nevertheless, both ballists took the field.

Turtle, known for showing sand in a Nashville Maroons uniform, walked out into the garden dressed as a dapper gentleman ready to officiate the match as arbiter. The game was a one-sided affair from the opening bat toss that favored the Travellers. The garden was fit for the eye of the Middle Tennessee ballists as they wielded some stout timber, taking dead aim as they fired one volley of onions after another toward a bevy of trees and bushes in a rather short right field. The result, an unenvious task for Cannonball stationed in the hornet’s nest. The Travellers plated 11 after 2 innings whereas the Holstons struggled to work their way through the roster. In the top of the 3rd, Bugle Boy and Doc’s willows caught fire and both managed a complete orbit of the sacks as the Holstons finally got to ring the bell. With the exception of one inning, the Travellers continued to ring the bell. Cannonball and Molasses tallied two additional aces for the Holstons in the 8th; however, the Travellers plated 15 more times for a total of 26 aces (one ace was initially recorded in the 7th but on further review was not scored as a Holston scout had caught the striker’s ball on the bound).

Turtle presented the Professor with the game ball after the conclusion of the match. As many spectators departed the city, a few Holstons remained behind to take likenesses and speak with Middle Tennessee’s hardiest rooters. This reporter overheard a few of the Knoxville ballists discussing landscaping plans in right field prior to the next match that the Holstons are scheduled to play on the Capitol garden. At four losses in as many matches this season, the Knoxville boys are still looking to score their first win and hope to do so in their next match against the Emmett Machinists at Rocky Mount.

Game Stats

Match Report: Late Flurry of Lightfoot Aces Halt Holstons Comeback

The Knoxville Holstons recently traveled south to Chattanooga via the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad for a match game of base ball against the Lightfoots in the first match of the Downstream Series of the inaugural Tennessee River Cup. Last season both clubs split their matches and their respective rooters expected yet another hard fought contest. A hearty crowd assembled as early as an hour prior to the first pitch to catch a glimpse of the excellent specimen of East Tennessee ballists as they warmed up by tossing the onion and swinging their willows.
The match commenced with each club tallying an ace in the first inning. The Lightfoots put 2 aces between themselves and the Holstons after 2 innings before scoring 3 additional aces in as many innings. The Holstons plated 4 aces in the bottom of the 6th to square the match at 7 aces and, albeit briefly, managed to stop the hemorrhage of Lightfoot aces. However, the home club halted the Holstons comeback as their willows caught heat in the 8th and 9th innings as 11 Lightfoots orbited the sacks. The Holstons found themselves in a pickle heading into the last frame and managed only 2 aces as Samson (formerly known as The Kid) and Gasser plated to trim the final deficit to 9. Pickaxe, the match’s arbiter, presented the game ball to Mac, the Lightfoots captain and announced the final tally in favor of the Lightfoots over the Holstons, 18-9.

The Holstons have yet to secure a victory after the first three matches of the season and found themselves tied at the bottom of the standings. As the gentlemen ballists exhibited civility by greeting one another with congratulatory handshakes following the match, Molasses, the captain of the Holstons Base Ball Club, challenged the Lightfoots to a second match to be played in Knoxville at Colonel Ramsey’s splendid garden in the summer. The match is expected to be played on August 21 at noon and will be the first game of the Upstream Series in the Tennessee River Cup. The Emmett Machinists of Knoxville and the Mountain City Club of Chattanooga will play the second match with the winners of both games playing for the Cup.

Game Stats