by Mike Woody
The Tippecanoe Canal Jumpers split their two weekend matches, both of which were tightly contested.
A heart stomping defeat was dealt to our gallant lads, by the Clodbusters on Saturday, June 19, but the next day, a victory was secured against the North Baltimore Cyclones.
In the first match, played in fields of Fairborn, the Canal Jumpers were in control throughout the first eight innings against their arch-rival the Clodbusters. However, their good fortunes were short lived as the lead was snatched away in the Clodbusters’ final turn at the plate.
Courtesy of the solid hurling by Phil ‘Curly’ Cox and some timely well – struck balls by Craig ‘The Cannon’ Seeman and Adam ‘Ricochet’ Blake the Canal Jumpers were ahead 5-3 after seven.
A key at bat occurred in the eighth, thanks to Mike ‘Big Papi’ McDermott a.k.a ‘Benedict’ who chose to play for the opposition, when it was discovered they were short a player. The turncoat Big Papi betrayed his team by loading the bases with a hit, which continued the dreadful inning and allowed the Clodbusters to secure a lead. Big Papi was originally called out, but the umpires call of a fair ball was reversed, thus allowing the inning to continue. By the time it was over, the Clodbusters had scored three aces and led 6-5.
The Canal Jumpers were retired quietly in the ninth, with the final ball caught by none other but the suddenly sure- handed Big Papi in center field.
Despite the outcome, it was a well played game by the Canal Jumpers who remained gentleman amidst the sorrow of defeat. A slight commotion was stirred when Ricochet was issued a fine of 25 cents by the umpire for spitting on the field and was made to apologize to the female cranks.
With no time to sulk, the Canal Jumpers readied for another match on June 20 at the Willowtree Inn with the North Baltimore Cyclones. A combination of well-struck balls and stellar assured the Jumpeers were 10-5 victors.
The gallant offensive attack was led by Kevin ‘The Inn Keeper’ Lett with a pair of base hits, one of which soared over the fence into the corn field, and Rod ‘The Vacuum’ Martino whose fleet-footed base running generates lightening speed.
It was a back -and -forth match, but the fine hurling of Mark ‘Mad Dog’ Mabelitini was able to keep the Canal Jumpers close, until they erupted with five aces over the last two innings to secure the victory.
The Cyclones struggled to string together a series of hits due, in part, to the cannon ball arm of Glen ‘Wolfpack’ McMurry at third, who effortlessly made the throw to retire runners at first. And behind the plate, Steven ‘Swifty’ Pope was splendid, recording four straight put-outs by catching foul tips.
One exception to the near perfectly played match by the Canal Jumpers was the Inn Keeper made to apologize to the cranks for throwing down his bat in frustration. Once match was completed in honor of Father’s Day, children in attendance were permitted to play.
The Jumpers are a much improved club from the beginning of the season and will attempt to establish their first two game winning streak in team history when they meet the Columbus Buckeyes on Saturday, July 10 at the Tipp City Park beginning at 1:00 p.m.