Northern Illinois Vintage Tournament
Over the years, members of the Kent Base Ball Club have demonstrated a facility for adjusting to new roles on short notice. That was true once again in the team’s concluding games of the 2009 campaign, which took place at the Northern Illinois Vintage Base Ball Tournament held at the Faltz Family Farms Vineyard in Sheridan, Illinois. Faced with a lineup short by two players, new team member Cameron Thompson prevailed on two of his friends, Ben “Steady” Smith and Chris “Active” Acklin to join the Kents for the day. For the Kents first game, a 14-4 victory over the Somonauk Blue Stockings, Ben took over right field and Chris did a quick study of the intricacies of second base play. Then, in the second game against the Lockport Sleepers, Peter “Huge Hands” Radabaugh, who lives in the Chicago area and last played with the Kents in the Huzzah Hoosier Tournament two years ago, joined the team. “Huge Hands” took over at first base, with Mike “Dependable” DeJong going to right field and “Steady” Smith moving in to share behind duties with Mike “Long Gone” Coger. The moves proved successful against a tough Lockport team, with the Kents finishing on the long end of a 15-10 score.
The Kents began their match against the Blue Stockings with three aces in their second inning on safe hits by Ringler, Hillen, Coger, Acklin, Willmore, and Turner, and tallied four more in their fourth when the same group, joined by hurler Cameron Thompson, continued their powerful striking. The team put a victory on the shelf with seven more tallies in their last two innings, highlighted by a three base blast by David “Rings” Ringler and continued strong striking by his teammates.
In their second match against the Lockport Sleepers, the Kents took an early lead with nine aces in their first three innings and five more in their fourth and fifth innings for a 14 tally total while holding their opponents to three aces. Then, the sleepers awakened with seven tallies in their sixth, to make the score 14-10, and give the Kents, who could only respond with a single tally, cause for concern. Their concern grew when the Sleepers put men on each base in their seventh, but their defense stiffened and held, and the game ended with the score 15-10.