Grangers in the Park…Exchanging Aces
Bay City visits Rochester Hills
Van Hoosen Farm, Rochester Hills, Michigan
July 20, 2014
Bay City 12, Rochester Hills 9
After the long afternoon previous in Brooklyn, the Independents packed up their belongings and trekked Northeast to the hamlet of Rochester Hills. There they would meet their long-time friends the Grangers on the scenic grounds of Van Hoosen Farm. Nestled in between the cow pens , a rushing creek, and the spacious homes that line the long field are perhaps the most beautiful ball grounds to be found in our fair state, and it is there that the Mighty Grangers call home. A magnificent ball grounds it may be, but an even greater home advantage it does create. For the Bay Citys had plied their trade on these grounds some nine times previous to this, and come away victorious only once.
The weather on the day was almost as beautiful as the grounds as Doc Howarth, the erstwhile umpire for the match, watched over the coin toss for the order of striking. The Bay Citys would come away victorious in the toss and chose to strike last in the match. The Bay Citys sent Aaron Gerken to the stripe again, hoping he could replicate his early success in the previous day’s match in Brooklyn. Gerken would not disappoint as both he and the Independent fields men skunked the Grangers in their first. The Grangers would treat the Bay City strikers in kind for their first innings, and there was whitewash throughout.
In their second innings the Grangers would break through with the first ace of the contest when their lead striker for the inning, Kevin “Six Shooter” Straub, drove a howitzer into the garden and made his second. The next Granger gent, Anthony “Goodfella” Prasatek, would make his first as well with a muckle shot of his own driving the runner on second home to tally. The willow whipping wouldn’t end there, as both Scrap Iron and Mr. Rosonke would each make their first as well causing a log jam on the bases. Gerken now found himself in quite a pickle with the first run in, and the bases all occupied by Rochester runners, but he handled it cooly and got the next striker Pat “Barnraiser” McKay to hit a sky ball which was bottled in style by Sean “Tanner” LeRoux, the Independents’ fine shorts stop. The situation was still precarious, but the Constable remained calm and coerced the next man in the order, Nails Mallman, to hit a hot daisy cutter that was handled deftly at third sack by Tom “Cat” LeRoux. Thinking quickly the rangy Cat stepped on third forcing Scrap Iron’s hand, and then fired towards home to nab Prasatek before he could tally. The Bay Citys would be skunked again in their second, but they couldn’t help but feel that they dodged an enormous bullet. The match now stood at Rochester 1 and Bay City 0.
The tally would remain unchanged until Bay City took to striking in their fourth innings, as the ideal lead striker, Jeff “Silverback” Rahl, took to the stripe and launched a cannonade deep into the center garden. The apple descended from it’s celestial orbit just beyond the reach of the scrambling Granger gardner, Keith “Boomer” Walters, and then rolled downhill coming to rest near the creek that lines the right and center field. One could marvel at the enormity of the strike, or at the fact that despite the depth of the blow, and the time it took to retrieve the ball that Rahl could only make his way to third. Perhaps the Simeon shouldn’t have skipped leg day? At any rate Rahl wouldn’t stay long at third as Cat LeRoux promptly drove him home with a sky ball that was bottled in the left field. That would be the only run scored in the innings however, and the match was an even tighter scratch at 1 run apiece.
The Grangers would unknot the contest in their fifth thanks to a safety by Slappy Prasatek, and a two hands lost double by Mr. Straub that brought him to tally. The score now at 2-1 would remain unchanged until Bay Citys turn in the sixth. The rally would begin with one hand down in the inning and Kid Garcia making his first with garden grabber to the right field. Rahl would follow with a drive of his own, that moved the fleet Garcia to third. Then Cat LeRoux nearly mirrored his previous at bat driving a sky ball into the left garden that was bottled to kill his hand, but which safely drove home Garcia and moved the Silverback to second. Jeremy Schoolboy Stedry would then make his first on a daisy cutter into the garden, which moved Rahl to third. Rahl would then make his ace, the second for Bay City in the innings, on a howitzer from the bat of Aaron “The Constable” Gerken. The next hand would be lost, and the scoring complete, but the Bay Citys now held the lead at 3-2 after six innings each.
The proverbial ice having been broken, and the scoring commencing, the Grangers took to willow whipping with abandon sending seven strikers to the stripe, and plating two aces after two hands had already been recorded. The Independents trailed in the contest again as they took their turn in the seventh and displayed that they too were adept at handling their wood. Much like the Grangers the Bay City pillow parade began with two hands lost, when Adam “Ca-ca-nuts” Johnson made his first with a hot daisy cutter that caromed off the third sacker for the Grangers. Johnson would then traverse to third after a cannonade into the garden from the bat of Sean “Tanner” LeRoux, which placed LeRoux at second. Neither gent would remain in place long as Alan “Kid” Garcia then made his first for the third time in the match and drove home both Johnson and LeRoux. It was then that the Silverback strode to the stripe yet again, and this time launched a drive that placed the ball well into the left field. Garcia would tally all the way from first sack, and Rahl would make his second. Cat LeRoux would find his way onto second as well driving home Rahl. The next striker for Bay City, Schoolboy Stedry would then put the ball deep into the left garden, but this time the Grangers were prepared as Steve “Steam Engine” Sebert retrieved the orb rapidly, and rifled a shot home to nail Leroux at the plate as he attempted to make his ace. The play brought the cranks to their feet, and kept the Bay Citys from pulling away in the contest. The ledger now read Bay City 7 and Rochester Hills 4 after seven innings.
Now down by three aces the Grangers put on one of their patented displays of striking with each of their first two strikers making their first in the innings. Don “Scrap Iron” Kowalski would then drive both Rochesters home with a safety of his own. Kowalski would then move to third following a drive into the right garden that bounded over the fence by Mr. Rosonke. Resonke would move to second and Kowalski would tally the third run of the innings when McKay put a liner into the garden, and then made his first as well. The next striker Nails Mallman drove a hot daisy cutter to third that killed Rosonke’s hand for the first out of the innings. Runners now on first and second with only one out, Gerken, who was still in the box for Bay City, had to escape yet another time. After several pitches The Constable was able to coax Mr. Saraceno of the Grangers into hitting a sky ball that Cat LeRoux bottled in style. It appeared that the danger might be over, but then Keith “Boomer” Walters drove the onion into the garden tallying Mr. McKay from second. It was then that Mr. Walters got hung up between the bases and chased down by Cat LeRoux who deftly tagged him, before Nails Mallman could cross the plate with another Granger run. LeRouxs grit and determination surely held the Bay Citys in this contest as he singled-handedly recorded every out in the innings, and kept the game in reach. The tally was now Rochester 8, and Bay City 7.
Bay City would not tally in their eighth, and the Grangers would add another in their ninth. Now trailing by two aces the Independents brought up the bottom three in their order led by Jayme “Cap” Johnson. Two runs against the Granger defense seemed a formidable task, and as the combination of Cap and Barrell-Roller Barnard had resulted in six hands lost it seemed even greater. The past being the past, and holding no bearing on the now Johnson promptly pushed the pill into the right field and legged his way onto first. Barnard would then follow with a solid shot into the garden as well, and now the tying runs were on base with no hands lost. “Ca-ca-nuts” Johnson would then continue with his hot striking and made his way on base loading them up for the lead striker Tanner LeRoux. LeRoux then struck a hot daisy cutter into deep short stop that was knocked down, and fired homeward where Cap would barely beat the play and score the innings first run. Runners were now at every base, and Kid Garcia would not disappoint as he drove home Barnard with the tying run with another drive into the long field. Not wanting to tempt fate all runners moved up only one base, so the sacks remained loaded for the day’s Herculean Hero, Jeff “Silverback” Rahl. Rahl needing only a sky ball to score the winning tally, reared back and crushed a drive that raced past the third sacker and nearly took the life of Ca-ca-nuts. Having eluded death the younger Johnson strode home with the winning margin. The innings would continue with LeRoux and Garcia also tallying to bring finality to this exciting tug-of-war between Bay City and Rochester Hills. Bay City would win for only their second time in ten tries with a score of 12-9.
These two fine clubs will take to the pitch again on August 2nd when Bay City hosts the Grangers at Carroll Park in Bay City. Any in attendance that day will most surely be treated to some of the finest ball played by some of the finest of men.