On Sunday, your Bovina Dairymen took to the road for the first time in their storied history, playing two games against the Connecticut Bulldogs. The Dairymen played with a lean Nine, but bolstered by family and friends from the Burns, Tucker, and Finn clans, swept both games of the double header at historic Goodwin Park in Hartford, Connecticut by scores of 22-9 and 17-3, respectively.
After a night of comradeship and hospitality, the sun rose on a crisp New England morning. As both teams spent their warmups filling in gopher holes on the field, homeowners from across the street set up chairs on their front porches to catch the ballgame. The first contest was a “progressive” game: three innings each under the rules of 1864, 1865, and 1886. The Dairymen jumped to an early lead and never looked back, plating five runs in the first inning behind consecutive singles from their first four hitters: shortstop Dylan Tucker, third baseman Tyler Dugan, catcher Nick Frandsen, and center fielder Troy Tucker. Frandsen, Dugan, and both Tuckers all finished the game with four runs scored and at least three hits each. Left fielder Ben Denison added four hits, and, for the second game in a row, managed to miraculously avoid hitting any spectators after letting fly a bat from his normally vice-like grip.
The Dairymen added to their tally in every inning and every Dairymen reached base at least once, with seven of nine players scoring at least once. Left Fielder Denison led a spectacular defensive effort in support of hurler Gary Burns, with an outfield assist and a full-sprint catch in the uneven foul territory.
The second game was a seven-inning contest under 1864 rules in which production shifted in a more democratic fashion: all nine Dairymen reached base safely and scored at least once. Second baseman Jake Sackett led the charge with three hits, including a triple that landed in Goodwin Park Road. If the Dairymen bats had not already pushed the Bulldog outfield to the next county, Sackett would undoubtedly have touched them all. The Dairymen put the game out of reach with a seven-run fifth, with Denison again providing both levity and offense with a sharp single up the middle—off a pitch that bounced in front of the plate!
The Dairymen again jumped out to an early lead, and blanked the home side in five of the game’s seven frames. The Dairymen defense sharpened in the second game, and the visitors turned two unconventional double plays. The first was a 1-2-4 double play: 1864’s equivalent to today’s “strike-him-out-throw-him-out”: after catcher Frandsen caught a foul tip to send the batter back to the bench, he doubled off an unwitting runner at second base, who, under 1864 rules, is obliged to retreat and tag up. The second was a heads up play by first baseman Ben Cairns: after catching the ball on one hop for an out, Cairns’ throw home was just in time to catch the runner trying to sneak in from third. Right fielder John “Chico” Finn and hurler Gary Burns added two hits apiece.
Special thanks to the following individuals and organizations: First, to all our family and friends who drove with us, let us take the weekend off from our other duties, and provided the indispensable, behind-the-scenes support that we couldn’t do without (like, hypothetically, designated driving). Second, to the Bulldogs and Chick Ciccarello: you guys are a scrappy, class-act upstart, and wonderful hosts. Lastly, to all the players for taking time, energy, and money to make this all happen: John Finn, Gary Burns, Jake Sackett, Ben Denison, Ben Cairns, Troy Tucker, Nick Frandsen, Tyler Dugan, and Dylan Tucker. Thanks for a great weekend, boys.
Yours truly, Nick Frandsen Captain, Bovina Dairymen