There is no straight line from Bovina to Hartford, Connecticut. North on Route 10, northeast on Interstate 88, east on Interstate 90, and south on Interstate 91 brought the boys from Bovina 199 miles to Old Wethersfield, an historic shipbuilding and trading town on the Connecticut River. As the Dairymen descended from Bovina (elevation 1792’) to Cove Park (elevation 10’), the day’s opponents were finishing their first game; sweat stains from the humid lowlands already peeking through their uniforms.
The Boston Union Vintage Base Ball Club, sporting their checkered shirts, newsboy caps, and red pants, struggled to claw their way out of a hole against the Connecticut Bulldogs. With their solid grey wool uniforms sporting the classic New Haven “Y” on the chest shield, the Bulldogs struck early and often, taking the first contest by a wide margin.
But on the field the Dairymen stayed straight and true, without so much as a glance to the side. As Bovina warmed up on the edge of the historic oxbow lake—home to a thriving trade with the West Indies during colonial times—Boston regrouped and prepared to face an experienced Dairymen squad. After trading zeros in the first inning, the Dairymen put up four runs in the second behind extra base hits from their power-hitting lefties Luke “Burns-eye, Jr.” Burns and Troy “Honey” Tucker. Trading twos in the next frame left the score at 6-2 in favor of the Dairymen.
But the Bovina bats proved overbearing for the Boston squad, who, playing with four new players on the day, committed two errors in a fourth inning that helped the Dairymen bat around and tally eight runs. John “Chico” Finn and Alan “Pending” Scarpa each slapped two singles in the fourth, and Ben “el Gamero” Denison added a triple to put the Dairymen on top, 14-2. The suspendered squad would cruise from there, including four more tallies in the seventh on the strength of a home run by “Burns-eye, Jr.” Burns and a double from Alex “AT” Taylor. The final score was 18-5.
In game two against the Connecticut Bulldogs, the Dairymen stayed hot at the plate and cool in the field: Giving up a stingy total of ten runs over two games was the most impressive Dairymen defensive effort of the season. Playing by the rules of 1864—underhand pitching and catching the ball on a hop equals an out—means the ball is in play every single at-bat, and the Dairymen rose to the challenge. Shortstop “Burns-eye, Jr” slid to both sides with ease, and the crowd was heard to murmur that it seemed he was playing with a glove instead of his bare hands. “Gamero” Denison, always with a busy left field in an 1864 game, tracked, sprinted, and loped his way to over a dozen put-outs without an error. Catcher Nick “Roughcut” Frandsen dashed from behind the plate to put out half a dozen batsmen attempting the 1864 slap single, and “Chico” Finn turned a double play on a ball up the middle that some have taken to calling “unassisted.” A tip of the cap is in order.
At the plate in game two, the Dairymen started strong and didn’t look back. Four runs in the first put the Dairymen up 4-1. Three in the second behind a Joey “the Kid” Yambor double; three in the fourth on singles from Gary “Burns-eye, Sr.” Burns and Justin “Jazzy” Betterley; three in the sixth stemmed only by a clever hidden ball trick; five more in the seventh. The final score was 19-5, Dairymen. The two wins on the day lifted the Dairymen record to 8-1 on the season. Way to rattle, boys.
GAME NOTES. “Burns-eye, Jr.” Burns was a triple short of the cycle in game one, and a home run short in game two. “Gamero” Denison hit three triples on the day, while “Honey” Tucker went 5-5 in game two. Special thanks to “Chico” Finn for the best meal out any of us have had in a long while.
NEXT GAME is our last travel game of the year in which we will complete the New England circuit with a round robin against the Providence Grays and Boston Union in Hull, MA.