Members of the Essex Base-Ball Organization along with some new friends of the Columbus Capitals of Ohio travelled to central Florida on Saturday Feb 27th and gathered at The Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek State Park in Kissimmee to help launch vintage base-ball in that area by playing a series of games against the newly founded City Point Base Ball Club of Orlando FL. City Point was co-founded in August 2015 by Jeremy “Woody” Blackwood formerly of the Portsmouth Rockinghams and in their inaugural event they proved to be a worthy foe.
Game 1 – The first game in the bright early Florida sun saw the affectionately nick named “Team Sunshine” of EBBO jump out to an early and seemingly commanding lead. The City Point club was clearly not intimidated by the veteran bunch as they calmly chipped away at the lead for all nine innings and became victorious with 3 runs tallied in the bottom of the ninth for a 19 – 18 final score. The Orlando players celebrated triumphantly as the winning run crossed the plate knowing that their hard work of recruiting players along with several weeks of practices paid off.
Game 2 – After shaking off nearly five months of rust during game 1 the northern squad played nearly flawless defense in Game 2. That strong defense was essential as the EEBO team won another nail biter to a score of 5 to 4. The Orlando players also showed some spectacular defensive abilities in this game, most notably young Bradley at shortstop who attracted sharply batted balls like a magnet and played them with ease all afternoon as he clearly impressed the veteran club on the opposite side of the field.
Game 3 – This game saw “Team Sunshine” impress the spectators with power and defense as they took an early lead and never looked back in a shortened exhibition of seven innings. Numerous multi-base hits by many of the squad could only be topped by the first four bagger of the EBBO season by Portsmouth’s Jon “Wheels” Allen after he launched a memorable blast to deep right center.
Presentations of games balls were made by team captains Jim “Champ” Champey and the aforementioned Mr. Blackwood as they thanked the local spectators for their attendance and gave a special acknowledgement to the travelling rooters from New England and Ohio. Both clubs along with friends and families proceeded to celebrate into the evening at a local establishment as toasts were made to new friends on both sides. A special game ball was signed by members of both clubs and presented to the Frias brothers Rudy and Ian of the Columbus Capitals for their passion during the tournament and overall appreciation for the game of baseball.
The Essex Base Ball Organization sends their sincerest gratitude to the City Point club for their fine hospitality and gentlemanly play and wishes them a long future in the sport of vintage base-ball.
-Jim “Champ” Champey