The Uncle Joe Cannon Base Ball Jamboree, graciously hosted by the Vermillion County Voles at beautiful at Kennekuk County Park, provided participants all the best things about the 19th century game –sportsmanship, vigorous exercise, fresh air, and the renewal of friendships.
There was an added bonus for the Belleville Stags Base Ball Club – victory.
Nine Belleville men traveled to scenic Kennekuk County Park in Danville, to renew a spirit of friendly competition with the host Vermillion Voles and Indianapolis Hoosiers, and to make further acquaintance with the legendary Deep River Grinders of Hobart, Indiana.
With none of its ballist aged fewer than 42 years, the Stags earned wins in their three matches by out-scoring the Voles 8-2, the Hoosiers 13-2 and the men of Deep River 8-6.
No description of the day’s action should commence without first making note of the Voles’ hospitality or the fine conditions bestowed upon its participants by their creator. The sun shone brightly upon the pitch at Kennekuk as a light breeze hinting of autumn rustled the outfield greenery, thus casting upon the earth a scene even the greatest of artists would be hard-pressed to capture adequately. Ballists and their families then enjoyed a catered repast of pork, summer vegetables, deserts and the finest sweet corn ever offered for human consumption.
The Voles are, indeed, due the warmest regard and appreciation from the other clubs involved!
Highlights of the day’s base ball belong to the Stags and hurler Kyle “Monk” Lewis, who confidently utilized stellar defense behind him in earning the victory in all three matches. The Belleville nine were flawless afield through the first 14 rounds with stellar plays contributed at every position.
The defense waivered in the early innings of the third match as aging Belleville legs weakened. Ironically, the Stags likely owe their resurgent effort and flawless late-inning play to the joviality of their third opponent, the Deep River Grinders. Known far and wide for their gentlemanly spirit and sheer joy in playing the game, the Grinder’s on-going banter buoyed all, including their opponents.
As if following the Grinder’s example — and a fine example it was — Belleville shook off the aches and pains, steadied their wobbly legs, and rallied with the winning runs whilst steadying their defense.
The Stags were solid at the strikers line all day with each member of the lineup batting in at least one ace and all but one crossing the dish.
“der Kaiser” Mike Fink enjoyed perhaps his best day as a member of the Stags, going 9-for-12 with 6 aces batted in, four aces tallied and the first home run of his career, a three-ace slam. Dean “Higgins” Koopmann also was 9-for-12 with 5 aces batted in and 5 scored.
Other contributors included “Scrap Iron” Marcinkowski 7-13, 2 doubles, 3 aces tallied, 4 driven in; “Rooster” Mentzer 9-13, 5 aces tallied, 1 driven in; “Stir Fry” Kohlenberger and “Dutch” Eschman each went 8-13 with four aces tallied and three driven in; “Hawkeye” Mills 6-12, 3 aces tallied and 1 driven in; “Mule” Garrett 5-11, 4 aces batted in; and “Monk” Lewis 5-10, 1 ace tallied and 2 batted in.
The Stags, winners of four in a row, next travel to Chester, Ill. Sept. 8 to meet the Murphysboro Clarkes and Rock Springs Ground Squirrels at the Popeye Festival.