(St.Louis APRIL 12, 2014)–Lurk Field is located in a natural bowl in the former army base that comprises Jefferson Barracks Park and was transformed into a playable venue by the work of the Unions club and, especially, one member Dave “Beans” Heim, whose skill as a woodworker created not only a formidable backstop but attractive coverings for the utility installations that erupt here and there in the outfield.
Arriving a player short, the Ground Squirrels club was aided by the addition of Unions captain Matt “Scoops” Lurk, who labored mightily for the Macon County team nine, which drew first blood by putting across an ace in the first inning. Lurk rang the bell on hits by Steve “Slappy” McGee and Gary “Slim” Nelsen.
The Ground Squirrel club’s lead, however, proved short-lived as the Unions racked up five tallies in its half of the inning, launching a trend that would continue throughout the afternoon and threatened to exhaust the pencils available to tally keeper Carroll Slider as she struggled to keep track of Union aces.
Only one other Ground Squirrel would reach home base in the game, Glenn “Click” Click, whose fifth inning two-bagger put him in position to score on Lurk’s single.
In the meantime, the Unions were firing balls into the outfield, through the trees at its edge and, it seemed, just about every place there was to put a ball outside a fielder’s reach. When the game concluded, the hosts had racked up 22 runs and displayed batting, fielding, and running abilities that would be the envy of any club in the game.
The record of the Unions at the striker’s line was helped by Matt “Mayhem” Moushey’s three-for-four, two runs, four rbi and homerun. Jim “Noodles” Stockglausner four-for-five, three runs, double and two rbi. Mike “Parttime” Ashley four-for-four, three runs and three rbi. Kyle “Gorilla” Meyer three-for-four, two runs, four rbi and double.
Given their advancing years and delicate constitutions, the Ground Squirrels club’s pitching rotation—Chris “Cajun” Dettro and Bob “Droopy Drawers” Sampson—alternated innings through both games. On the sidelines, team owner “Joe Trobaugh” (Lee Slider) expressed gratitude that the health insurance responsibility for both hurlers belongs to Medicare this season. The way line drives were screaming in every direction, it seemed a wonder that one, if not both, of the pitchers was not literally knocked off the pitching line.
Yet the second contest saw the flower of optimism attempting to blossom in the opening frames. After holding the Unions scoreless in the first, the Ground Squirrels scored twice as Click and Lurk hit safely and came around in a bound-out by McGee. The Unions came back with four in the second and the visitors scratched out another run in the third. Again, Click was the spark, hitting another two-bagger, advancing on Lurk’s single, and scoring on McGee’s bound-out to center field. In the fourth, the Unions tallied once and the Ground Squirrels failed to answer.
The Fatal Fifth
A 4-3 contest turned into a rout in the fifth as the Unions sent four runs across home base, added three more in the sixth and six in the ninth for the final margin. In its final at-bat, the Ground Squirrels club managed to get another ace as Click scored on another hit by Lurk.
At the striker’s line, Click and Lurk led the Ground Squirrels with four hits in five chances. The Unions were led with the heavy hitting of Stockglausner four-for-five, three doubles, four runs and three rbi. Moushey four-for-four, double, two runs and three rbi. Murrish five-for-five, three runs and rbi.
A number of fine plays were contributed in both games by Ralph “Poco Loco” Graczyk at catcher (Ground Squirrels) and Eliot “Appleseed” Richard catcher (Unions). The day was glorious and the gentlemen on both sides put on fine display of all that is good in the game—on and off the field.
The Ground Squirrels return home for a round-robin beginning at noon, Saturday, April 26 involving the St. Louis Brown Stockings and Long Nine of Springfield clubs. Unions will take to the road April 26 at Lafayette Park involving the Lafayette Cyclone.
Compiled by Bob “Droopy Drawers” Sampson and Matt “Scoops” Lurk