Members of the Belleville Stags Base Ball Club arrived at beautiful Trobaugh Field near Decatur, Ill. Saturday well rested after a September 1 rainout afforded them a two-week vacation.
Their fresh legs and mighty bats spelled doom for the host Rock Springs Ground Squirrels. The Stags knocked out 26 hits, including nine for extra bases, and played muff-free defense to earn a 15-4 victory over the Squirrels.
But, in typical fashion, Belleville’s mastery of the grand-old game was fleeting. In a second match of a glorious day’s round robin, the Springfield Long Nine exacted revenge on behalf of the Rock Springs faithful by defeating the Belleville club, 14-1.
Rock Springs and Springfield played to a 9-9 tie in a well-played third match.
The Ground Squirrels took an early lead against the Stags by plating the first four strikers to the dish. Belleville came up empty in the first two rounds before coming alive with a 10-ace third and 4-ace fourth. The Stags added another in the fifth before the game was called due to time. The entirety of the Belleville batting order made contributions, with the upper half providing the punch.
“Stir Fry” Kohlenberger and “Dutch” Eschman, batting third and fourth in the order respectively, combined for six hits, six doubles and seven aces batted in. “Crash” Hill, from the lead-off spot, had four hits with four aces batted in and two more scored. Behind Hill, “Slats” Kniepkamp had three hits with two aces batted in and three tallied.
“Hawkeye” Mills and “Mule” Garrett made key contributions at the bottom of the order, both tallying three aces and driving in another each. Among Mills’ four safeties were two doubles.
“Higgins” Koopmann was the winning hurler for the Stags.
In the second match, Springfield got 23 hits against Belleville, but did most of its damage late in the game. The Long Nine widened a narrow lead with four runs in the fifth inning before putting the game out of reach with six in the match’s final round.
“Lunch Box” Haggard delivered two crucial blows for Springfield, including a two-run home run in the fifth round and a two-run double during the Long Nine’s seventh round rally. Haggard had four hits in four chances during the game. “Fuzzy” Dayagdag, “Korn” Daniels and “Pig” Daniels also contributed ace-tallying hits.
The Springfield outfield also distinguished itself making quick work of many tough chances to take hits away from Belleville strikers. Garrett tallied the lone Belleville ace on a sixth-round safety by Kniepkamp.
In the order they batted, the Stags’ strikers contributed the following: Hill 6-9, 2R, 4 RBI; Kniepkamp 5-9, 3R, 2B, 3 RBI; Kohlenberger 5-9, 2R, 3-2B, 3 RBI; T. Eschman 4-8, 3-2B, 4 RBI; Koopman 7-8; “Deadline Danny” Kelley 2-7, R; “Monk” Lewis 4-7, 2R, 2B; Mills 4-7, 3R, 2-2B, RBI; Garrett 5-7, 3R, RBI.
All teams enjoyed an afternoon of seasonable weather at the scenic Rock Springs Park and shared in fellowship over a delicious dinner following the day’s base ball.
The Stags and Long Nine are set to reunite at the Clayville Historic Preservation Site near Pleasant Plains, Ill. on Sept. 22. Game times are to be determined.