Kents Open with a Victory

The Kent Base Ball Club opened their 2009 season on a positive note with a 6-5 victory over the Grand Ledge All-Stars. The May 2 game was part of Grand Ledge’s annual Victorian Days celebration and drew an enthusiastic group of cranks interested in seeing a Victorian era version of the great American game.

Well-played and closely contested, the game belied the fact that neither team had been able to practice before they took the field. After captain Charles “Wedded” Bliss won the bat toss, the Kents took the field and stopped the All-Stars without an ace. In their own first inning, the Kents tallied once on hits by Bliss, Westfall and Adam Kochanski. They added two more aces in their fourth inning for a 3-0 lead when Westfall and Lance Brewer each reached base with well-struck balls, and Kochanski scored them with a drive between the Grand Ledge left- and center field guardians. Only an unassisted double play by the Grand Ledge third base tender kept the score from going higher. He caught a sharply hit ball by “Long Gone” Coger on its first bound, and then tagged Kochanski as he ran toward the third base.

The Kents’ good fortune lasted only until the All-Stars’ next inning when they tallied five aces on a combination of solid hitting a momentary Kent defensive lapses. Gregoary, Kilbourn, LeCroix, Kramp and Sowle tallied. Guile was waiting at the third base when Gregory hit a one bound out to second base tender, Korreck to end the frame. In the Kents’ fifth inning, Kilbourne, the Grand Ledge shortstop, made the defensive play of the day diving to his right to catch a hard strike by the Kents’ Robinson.

The Kents erased the Grand Ledge lead in their seventh inning when Bliss and Westfall struck safely and Brewer sent them both safely home with a long blow beyond the reach of the Grand Ledge outfielders. The score would have been even greater save for a ground rule declaring that balls hit over the right field fence and into the river were outs. Thus, DeJong’s hard hit into the water became the last out of the inning.

Although four All-Stars struck safely in their final two innings, Brewer’s well placed ball ended scoring for the day, sending the Kents on the road with a close victory.