It was a perfect autumn morning in the Catskill Mountains. Beneath Maple Shade Farms' trademark barn--a flaxen monument trimmed in red and roofed in green--a thick mist clung to the valley's nooks and crannies. Vendors chatted, portable machinery hummed, children clamored for a spot on the hay wagon. And just over the knoll, a group of men eased the brisk morning out of their arms, lengthened their strides, and donned the day's threads. The boys of fall.
For the third year in a row, the black-and-white clad Dairymen would face off against the Fleischmanns Mountain Athletic Club, wearing their trademark burnt yellow shirts over black trousers. Striking first as the away side, the Dairymen put up four in the first behind doubles from Jake "Swan" Sackett and Mike "Griz" Griswold. But the home team plated a disheartening 11 runs in the first and five in the second, and after two the score stood at 16-7.
But the Bovina squad, behind relentless striking at the plate, clawed back just as their defense began to stiffen. Up and down the lineup, the Dairymen got on base and came up with key hits, scoring in every inning. In the third, it was Chance Parker and Alex "AT" Taylor lending base hits on the way to four runs. In the fifth, Bovina plated five behind extra base hits from the heart of the order--cleanup hitter Troy "Train"Tucker and five-hitter Swan Sackett. Both men would finish the day with multiple extra-base hits. In the sixth, Captain Dylan "Hobbes" Tucker began a four-run rally with a single, and singles from Chance Parker, Justin "Juice" Betterley, and Chico Finn put the Dairymen up for good. The Dairymen sealed it with three runs in the eighth behind doubles from newcomer "Andrew"--an honorary Bovinian by way of his better half--and backstop Jack "Sticky" Stanton.
The final score was 28-21 in favor of the away squad. In their first-ever ten-plus-game season, the Dairymen finished 11-3. Raise your caps, Dairymen, on a fine season!
A special thank you to the Mountain Athletic Club, Jonah Shaw and the organizers at the Taste of the Catskills festival, and to Richard Tucker for umpiring. Lastly, to our friends and families: hurrah! We couldn't do it without you. The road trips driven, the uniforms washed and mended, the babysitters called and paid for, the heat endured, the boredom staved, the support shown. It's all noticed and appreciated.
Captain, Bovina Dairymen