The rain held off, the fans held out, and the players held up for a great game of vintage base ball at Sackets Harbor. Every year during the Can-Am Festival, a team made up of players from the four teams in the Silver Base Ball Park League travels to Sackets Harbor to play a local team. The rain that was forecast never materialized, and we were all treated to a beautiful display of sportsmanship and good humor.
First Inning: The Silver Base Ball Park Best Nine got off to a running start. The very first striker, Scott “Handyman” Hand, tallied an ace. He was followed by team captain Tony “Tiger” Brancato, who also tallied an ace. The best nine went back to the bench with a two-ace lead over the Ontarios. The Ontarios weren’t so lucky, ending the first inning with a duck egg.
Second Inning: Once again the Best Nine showed their mettle, putting three aces on the board via first-year player Ken “Rolling” Stone and veterans “Jockey” Jim Sears and Kevin “Longarm” Owens. So it was back to the bench again, now with 5-0 lead. The Ontarios answered, with Brian “Doomis” Loomis finding his way back to home plate to put the Ontarios on the board. (Speaking of which, there was a board this year, just one of the many great steps forward by this Sackets Harbor team.)
Third Inning: For the third straight inning, the Best Nine tallied an ace, as Scott Hand rounded the bases again and put the Best Nine up 6-1. With the Ontarios suffering their second scoreless inning, the first-time fan might have been forgiven for expecting an easy outing for the Best Nine. As is so often the case at Sackets Harbor, though, the home team took a few innings to get the feel for the rules and the style, and then they came out swinging.
Fourth Inning: No one knew it at the time, but the third inning was the last in which the Best Nine would tally an ace. As it turned out, though, their defensive play was a good as their early striking had been, particularly the acrobatic team captain, Mr. Brancato. But the Ontarios were ready to start hitting, with Ryan “Dutch” West and the Derwin brothers — Ryan “Red” and Randy “Ranger” — all tallying aces, reducing the Best Nine’s lead to two runs. Score: 6-4.
Fifth Inning: The Best Nine put two men on base in the fifth, but neither reached home. The Ontarios saw their first three batters retired, and the inning was over.
Sixth Inning: It was three up, three down for the Best Nine, and eight up, three aces for the Ontarios. John “Mad Dog” Robinson tallied his first ace of the day, Randy Derwin his second, and Scott “Rabbit” Robinson his first to put the Ontarios ahead 7-6.
Final Score: Ontarios, 7 – Best Nine, 6. And that was how it ended up. Despite putting nine men on base between them, neither team tallied another ace, and the Ontarios won a spirited game. Kudos to “team owner” Marty Maxson and coach Errol Flynn, who were sporting natty new Ontarios uniforms at the game. Also a big round of applause to tallykeeper and Silver Base Ball Park League goodwill ambassador Dick Terboss (and his wife, Dorothy) who helped set up the game from the Mumford end. At the Sackets end, a hearty “huzzah!” to Don Payne, who’s really helping to take the Sackets organization into the future. The word on the street is that the Ontarios hope to fully outfit a team for the 2006 National Silver Ball Tournament at Genesee Country Village. I hope we’ll see them there, and I can’t wait to travel back to Sackets Harbor next year!