The Rockinghams and Oaks wow the crowd

It was all for the cranks on Sunday, July 20, as Lynn and Portsmouth split two games on a perfect summer day. Near-record numbers of base ball fans witnessed the two teams exchange the lead over and over with Portsmouth holding on to win the first game, 10-7, and Lynn rallying in the top of the ninth to take the second game, 16-14.

Freshly grown corn stalks in center-right field played a prominent role in the day’s event as well-struck fly balls from both teams sent outfielders sprinting into the crop to make catches or to dig for dropped ones. Cranks got in on the action, too, during quite a few foul balls which saw many near-collisions and spectacular diving catches.

Among many exciting plays, perhaps the one that cranks loved most came from Rockinghams’ striker Jim Leopardi, who placed a loop fly ball perfectly in the thickets of a tall bush on the third baseline. Live Oaks defense scrambled in the branches and brush to retrieve the ball but literally couldn’t find it before the Rockingams cleared the bases and Leopardi trotted home to a host of cheers.

At mid-season, Portsmouth continues to hone their edge while Lynn’s bats are louder and their defense is tougher than ever

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Squints view of the Lowell Nine vs. Lynn Live Oaks

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Squint's is dirty

Squint’s is dirty

Every time I give away a league postcard I always get some response related to “Field of Dreams”. Today, as I strolled into right field I noticed that the corn had started growing. One section was at least two feet tall, and another was a little over a foot. The two patches were separated by what I have come to call the “death soil”.

As I contemplated the upcoming 18 innings, I knew that this “Field of Dreams” had a very good chance of becoming my “Field of Nightmares”. It’s one thing to battle the death soil, but its another to try to find a small orb half buried in dirt and surrounded by vegetation.

We are playing the newly revamped Lynn Live Oaks. Their ability to amass well placed singles gradually draws in the outfield while their power hitters crush monster shots. In fact, it doesn’t matter if your outfield is in or not, their talented shortstop, Jed, will hit it over you.

It’s not often that a striker on the right side of the plate can hit with power to the opposite field. But Jed is up to bat, and he sees corn. So, he hits it my way. I am playing on the edge of the death soil and try to get under the ball without falling. I successfully stayed upright, but the ball hits about 15 feet beyond me for an easy stand up double.

A few innings later, same exact result. I am beginning to take this personally. Memories of battles past are fresh on my mind and I believe he thinks he has my number. After an absolute bomb to left field and a couple of nice hits that were not in my direction the first game comes to an end. Even though Lynn had pounded the ball, a few costly errors and timely hitting by the Sheehy brothers pulled the Lowell Base Ball Nine to a victorious game 1.

It’s game two and Lynn is off to a fine start, leading after four. The fans are clearly cheering for the Live Oaks providing an extra boost that is much needed on this muggy afternoon. As I stood in right field I noticed that the Ipswich Ale truck was heading out for the day. I thought to myself “They should really put two kegs in that truck on quadruple header days. Now we can’t get a cold brew after battling in the hot sun all day.” A deeper concern was that my Lowell brethren would be stricken with grief at the departure of that fine truck. Instead, a rage was birthed. I believe we held Lynn scoreless that inning, and then our bats came alive. That corn field became our friend for a couple of innings as we fought to put the game out of reach.

But Lynn was not done. Jed had one more blast to right field in him. I am convinced that he paid Wiz to pitch him outside just so he could hit it to right. I was not getting burned again. I played at least 20 feet into that corn patch. I was daring him to come to me. Challenge accepted. An absolute bomb was shredding its way to dead right. There is no reason that a ball softened by two games of play should travel that far. But here it came, like a missile. Everyone on the team yelled a collective “BACK BACK BACK”. So through the corn field I ran. Once again, I leapt and stretched out as far as possible to reach for the ball. As I stuck out my left hand I felt the ball hit perfectly in my hand and stick there as I hit the ground and rolled through the dirt. I raised up to throw the ball, and that is when I noticed…It had fallen out. The death soil had beaten me yet again. Jed stood on second. Luckily our lead was insurmountable. Victorious, Game 2.

Wiz how much will it cost me to have you pitch Jed inside?

Newburyport and Lowell Sweep the day

In games 1 and 2 the Newburyport Clamdiggers were able to hold off the Portsmouth Rockinghams for two victories improving their record to 4-4 and securing second place.

In games 3 and 4 the Lowell Base Ball Nine battled the much improved Lynn Live Oaks but in each game Lynn had one or two innings in which they let up five or more runs. The Oaks hammered single after single and capitalized on some Lowell errors but Lowell’s line up was to strong and Lowell won both games. Watch out EBBA the Live Oaks are coming.

We are sad to announce that the Essex game scheduled in Maine July 19th has been canceled due to lack of available fields. The Portsmouth Rockinghams and Lynn Live Oaks square off July 20th in their final set of games this season. Action kicks off at 12pm at the farm.

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3 Way Tie in the league…

The latest action in the Essex Base Ball Association on June 28th saw the Portsmouth Rockinghams and Lynn Live Oaks split their double header. In the 3rd and 4th games of the day the Lowell Nine swept the Newburyport Clamdiggers. With these games in the books the Lowell Nine stands on top of the league right now at 6-0 and the Rockinghams, Clamdiggers, and Live Oaks all sit 2-4. We are off for the 4th of July but all teams are back at it July 13th.

Lynn Live Oaks and Portsmouth Rockinghams

Lynn Live Oaks and Portsmouth Rockinghams

Newburyport Clamdiggers and Lowell Base Ball Nine

Newburyport Clamdiggers and Lowell Base Ball Nine