Members of the Belleville Stags Base Ball Club recounted the highlights of a glorious inaugural season and honored (roasted) their fellow ballists during a gala affair held at the Belleville-Swansea Moose Lodge 1221 Saturday night.
Four members of the club were singled out by a vote of their teammates. They included Mike “Mule” Garrett, Kyle “Monk” Lewis, Brent “Stir Fry” Kohlenberger, and Todd “Dutch” Eschman.
Garrett was presented a trophy ball as winner of the Tina Louise Best Ginger Award. The prize recognized Mule’s great effort both on the base paths and behind the plate. Few behinds on the local circuit were as successful as Mule, whose diving stops on foul tics secured an estimated three additional hands per game. His final batting line hardly reflects his success as the dish as his speed on the bases was severely hampered by a variety of leg ailments.
Though no pitching statistics were kept, Lewis was, in a nearly unanimous vote, named winner of the Albert Spalding Best Hurler Award. It is Lewis who secured the club’s first ever victory at the pitcher’s point. In addition, he contributed much timely offense by hitting .466 with 15 aces tallied, 21 aces batted in, and a club-high four sacrifice flies. His pitching repertoire included a looping sky ball and an off-tempo fast pitch.
In a close race that eventually required a recount, Kohlenberger was named winner of the Bid McPhee Good Hands Award for his steady play at the third base. Stir Fry was as good as a sure thing, snagging hot-hit balls, chasing foul tics and delivering accurate, one-hop throws to the first base. He was equally adept at the home dish, leading the Stags in batting average (.667), aces tallied (42) and aces batted in (56).
Eschman was named the club’s Most Valuable Player by his fellow ballists. Eschman led the team in hits (92), doubles (32), triples (5) and had the only stolen base of the season. The award, however, may have been a nod more to Dutch’s organization and management of the team than his field skills. At the banquet, Dutch expressed his gratitude for the award and assured his teammates that the effort was complete joy for him, especially since it involved forging friendships with such a fine group of gentlemen.
While enjoying a delicious meal of smoked meats and assorted side dishes and desserts, the individual club members were presented a certificate commemorating their status as Charter Members of the now year-old base ball club. The certificates included a full-color likeness of the ballists plus their season’s batting statistics.
The Honorable Judge David P. Showmaker also was recognized with a certificate and team mother/tally keeper Linda “Potsfuatu” Garrett was presented a lovely bouquet of flowers for her invaluable contributions to the club.
A good time was had by all.