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Recent Game Highlights

The Murphysboro Clarkes entered the final stretch of their season looking to finish on a high note. On Saturday September 29, the fine gentlemen from Murphysboro journeyed to meet the St. Louis Unions in Highland, Illinois. The two matches were part of Highland’s 175th Jubilee celebrating its historic heritage. It was a bright sunny morning when the two teams took the field at 10:00. The Unions tallied three quick aces in the top of the first inning to take an early lead before the Clarkes scored two aces of their own. The Unions continued to build their lead with offensive outbursts in the fourth and fifth innings and carried a 9-5 lead into the Clarkes half of the seventh frame. Everett “Icy Hot” Blackwell started a rally with a one baser which was followed by timely hits from “Black Bart” Hagston, Jim “Lefty” Hensley, Larry “Legs” Reinhardt, and “Wrongway” Ray Bailey that resulted in four aces to tie the match. The score remained 9-9 until the bottom of the ninth inning when “Wrongway” delivered the game winning hit to allow “Lefty” to cross the plate with the Clarkes’ tenth ace. The winning hurler was Jeffrey “Dawg” Wright who picked up his first career win in his first hurling experience. Leading strikers for the Clarkes were “Wrongway” with five stingers in five plate appearances and five aces driven home; “Lefty” with three stingers, three aces scored, and one ace driven home; and “Legs” with three stingers, two aces scored, and two aces driven home. In match two, the Unions struck hard and often to pick up a 13-3 victory. The leading striker for the Clarkes was “Legs” with three stingers. Eric “Spike” Rahlfs, Justin “Airborne” Hovatter, and “Black Bart” also had two stingers each. After the matches concluded, both teams enjoyed the hospitality of Highland including tasty Bavarian skillets.

The Clarkes hosted the St. Louis Brown Stockings on Saturday October 20 as part of the activities related to the Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest. It was a vintage fall day at Longfellow Park with partly sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 60’s. The cranks were looking forward to the two seven inning matches on the agenda. In match one, the Brown Stockings won the coin toss and elected to be the home team so the Clarkes would be striking first. The Boys from the ‘Boro took striking first to heart as they batted around tallying six aces to set the tone for match one. Excellent hurling and a stellar defensive effort allowed the Clarkes to maintain this early advantage and earn the 7-1 win. “Dawg” was the winning hurler. Leading strikers included “Black Bart” with four stingers, “Lefty” with three aces driven home, and “Wrongway” with two aces tallied. The Clarkes started strong in the second match to take an early 2-0 lead. It was a tight match throughout with both teams striking well and making great defensive plays in the field. The Brown Stockings then tallied four aces in the top of the sixth inning to gain an 8-6 advantage. The Clarkes came to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning in a do or die situation. After “Lefty” had tallied an ace after being driven home by “Wrongway” to cut the deficit to 8-7, the Clarkes were down to their last out with the tying run on second base. Jeff “One Leg” Craig then delivered a clutch stinger into the outfield to chase “Wrongway” home with an ace to tie the score 8-8. Neither team was able to muster a tally in the eighth or ninth inning so the game continued into the tenth frame. The Brown Stockings tallied an ace in the top of the tenth to take the lead. The Clarkes were not finished yet as Jerry “Bags” Richards started the inning with a one baser which was followed by a stinger by “Legs”. “Bags” tallied an ace when driven home by a bug bruiser off the bat of “Lefty”. “Wrongway” came to the plate and smashed a hit into the outfield to send “Legs” home with the game clinching ace resulting in a 10-9 Clarkes victory. “Dawg” came out of the bullpen to pick up the win in relief. Leading strikers for the Clarkes included “Bags” who had six stingers in six plate appearances and tallied four aces; and “Wrongway” who had five stingers and two aces driven home. “Legs”, “Lefty”, and “Dawg” also contributed two aces driven home. The members of both teams then celebrated a great day of base ball with the Big Muddy Monster at his Brew Fest in Riverside Park.

On Saturday October 27, the Clarkes were invited by the St. Louis Brown Stockings to play a nine inning match as part of Rural Heritage Day in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. In the midst of blacksmithing, leather working, apple butter making and lots of kettle corn; cranks were able to find ballists playing America’s favorite past time in its purest form in a hay field at the edge of the festival grounds. It was a sunny day but the colder temperatures accented by a sharp cutting breeze beckoned to the players and cranks that this was the final match of the 2012 season for these two fine teams. The battle between the Clarkes and Brown Stockings picked up right where it left off the previous week. Strikers for both teams excelled in this match as the weather conditions made the routine plays a little more difficult than usual. Even with the adversity, the fieldsmen from both teams turned in several sparkling plays that wowed the cranks. The Brown Stockings built a 6-4 lead before the Clarkes came to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Clarkes then erupted for six aces to take a 10-6 lead which quickly disappeared in the top of the seventh when the Brown Stockings countered with six aces of their own to regain the lead 12-10. The Clarkes answered in the bottom of the seventh with four additional aces to recapture a 14-12 lead highlighted by howitzer shot two basers delivered by “Spike” and “Lefty” around stingers by “Bags”, “Dawg”, “One Leg”, and Zach “Nash” O’Hagan. The Brown Stockings tallied another ace in the top of the eighth to trail only 14-13, but that was the end of their offensive output as the Clarkes held them scoreless in the ninth inning to hold on to claim a 14-13 decision in a great base ball game. “One Leg” earned the victory on the mound. Leading strikers for the Clarkes included “Bags” with five stingers and three aces tallied; “Spike” with four stingers, three aces tallied, and three aces driven home; “Lefty” with four stingers, three aces tallied, and three aces driven home; and “Nash” with four bug bruisers and three aces driven home.

The Murphysboro Nine finished their 2012 season with a 21-13 record. These fine gentlemen have enjoyed another year together playing vintage base ball for the love of the game. As we move into the offseason, we again say that “Hands Down, Clarkes Base Ball is the Best Game In Town.” For more information about our team and next season’s schedule when it becomes available, please visit Murphysboro.com and the Murphysboro Clarkes vintage base ball facebook page. We hope that our cranks enjoyed watching us this year and wish them a blessed winter season. Until the arbiter says “Striker to the Line” next spring…..HUZZAH!!