Last Saturday, the Bovina Dairymen played the Wheelmen of Westfield, MA in their first contest of the year played by the rules of 1886. Bovina improved to 4-2 on the season, and will round out the season against the Mountain Athletic Club on October 3rd in Bovina. First pitch at 1pm. BBQ and bonfire to follow.
The Wheelmen, traveling from Massachusetts to play the Catskill Circuit, had already played a 7-inning contest against the Mountain Athletic Club in game one. Throwing their ace, southpaw Andres “Andelé” Conde in game one, the Westfield defense could not contain the MAC bats, and the MAC took game one by a wide margin. Westfield captain “Gunner” Genovese went on to say that in over 100 games catching Conde, he had never seen a team drop that many hits on him. As the Dairymen filtered in, the Wheelmen rested and prepared for game two.
In game two, the Dairymen won the coin toss and took the field as the home side. Bovina jumped to a 1-0 lead on an unearned run in the bottom of the first, but Westfield answered with one of their own in the top of the second frame. Bovina answered right back in the bottom of the second on the strength of a leadoff triple from Dan “Pending” Kehrer and a sacrifice fly from Justin “Juice” Betterley. Answering right back, the Wheelmen pulled ahead in the top of the third, plating two runs and chasing Dairymen starting pitcher Nick “Roughcut” Frandsen.
But the young Dairymen bats would prove too much for the aging Wheelmen squad. Speed on the bases, consistent defense, and solid pitching by the Dairymen overwhelmed the visitors, who were already tired from their first contest of the day and a long road trip that morning.
Bovina tied the ballgame in the bottom of the third behind singles from Ben “the Gamer” Denison and “Pending” Kehrer. It would be all Dairymen from there. Bringing in Dylan “Hobbes” Tucker in the fourth, the home side stifled the visitors—Tucker allowed only two runs over six innings en route to earning the win for the Dairymen.
Bovina plated four in the fourth on the strength of six straight hits, including a double from Luke “Burns-eye” Burns and a capped off by a single from catcher Brenden “Rulebook” Cairns. But a tenacious Westfield refused to bow out, and after plating two in the fifth, trailed by only three. In the sixth, a wily Westfield team kept the game close by taking advantage of an 1886 rulebook oddity to turn a triple play. With the bases loaded and no outs, the Dairymen had already scored one and were threating to open a big lead. But in 1886, a dropped third strike obligates the batter to run to first—creating a force for all other baserunners. After dropping the third strike on “Rulebook” Cairns, the veteran Westfield catcher stepped on home and threw to third for the second out, and Westfield made an easy toss to second base to complete the triple play, catching a bewildered Bovina squad flat-footed.
However, Westfield could not get anything going at the plate and the Dairymen would cruise to a victory by the score of 11-5. Fittingly, the Dairymen would take their rulebook revenge in the eighth and turn a double play on a dropped third strike thanks to a heads-up effort by third baseman Jack “Shucks” Stanton and a bare-handed scoop at first base by Toddy “Meatloaf” Possemato. Leading the Bovina offense were Tyler “Cock-a-Doodle” Dugan (4-5, 3R); “Hobbes” Tucker (3-4, 2R); “Gamer” Denison (2-4, BB, 2R); “Burns-eye” Burns (3-5, 2 2B); “Pending” Kehrer (2-4, 3B); and “Juice” Betterley (1-3, SF).
NEXT and LAST GAME OF THE SEASON is in Bovina on Saturday, October 3rd. First pitch is at 1pm. The games will be played by the rules of 1864. BBQ and bonfire to follow at the Burns Ranch. Bring a dish to pass and something to drink!
Nick Frandsen, Cap’t