The large crowd which assembled at the Island Park yesterday afternnon got their quarter's worth several times over, as the return game between the W. W. Bells, of Pittsburg, and the home team proved one of the most exciting contests ever seen in the city. Up to the ninth inning the Green Stockings had it all their own way and everybody expected to see the Bells whitewashed, but in their half of the ninth they sent the boys leather-hunting with a vengeance, and, aided by a few costly errors just at the wrong time, pounded out six runs, or just enough to tie the game. With two out, one man on third, another on second, and only one more run needed to win, Mallory brought down the house by striking Costello out, and thus ending the agony for the time.
The Bells were somewhat demoralized in the tenth, and Wheeling scored three more runs, while the Pittsburg boys could only get two, and thus ended as close and exciting a game as Wheeling ever saw.
The home team played a beautiful game up to the ninth and gave promise of what they will do when they have more practice together. The sharp fielding of Dudley, Crogan and Moffatt, and the batting of Dunn were the features of the game.
In the first inning, Crogan fouled out to first, Dunn followed with a single, and aided by a fumble of Meenan's reached third, coming home on a muff by Patterson. Mallory fouled out to catcher. Elliff fanned the wind four times, but Patterson dropped the ball and gave him a life. Speidel hit to pitcher, who put him out on the way to first.
The Bells went out in one, two, three order, Mallory striking out two men.
The Wheeling boys tried the one, two, three order of things in the second, and the Bells didn't succeed any better in their half.
The next four innings resulted in blanks for both sides, the men being on their mettle and playing ball for all it was worth, but in the seventh Wheeling "struck oil." Speidel drove a long fly to centre which Meenan muffled, stole second, went to third on a passed ball and came in on a hard hit by Dudley to right field, which Moffat held but couldn't get home in time to cut him off. Nichol gave Meenan another chance, which he failed to accept, and then the slugging began; Steel and Dushane both made singles, and Crogan and Dunn followed with two-baggers, each sending in three more runs, two of them being earned. Dunn tried to get home, but was caught between third and the plate, and Mallory ended the half inning by striking out. Six to nothing in favor of Wheeling and everybody, but the Bells, as happy as a lord.
Neither side scored in the eighth and the crowd began to leave the benches, as the game seemed decided, but they concluded to stay a while longer, as the Bells, after retiring Wheeling in short order, began to find the ball at last, and as they piled up run after run things commenced to get exciting. The Wheeling boys got a little rattled as their opponents drew closer and closer, and were decidedly off in their play, probably from over-confidence, and as a result the Bells crossed the plate six times.
The interest was now a fever heat, as a tenth inning was necessary to decide matters, and the Green Stockings delighted their admirers by proving equal to the occasion and making three runs. The Bells tried hard to overcome this lead, but only two of their men succeeded in reaching the plate and Moffatt ended the prolonged excitement by getting caught in a attempt to steal second.
The attendance was large, about six hundred people witnessing the game, and it is safe to say that they enjoyed the sport.
Below is the detailed score.
Earned runs -- Wheelings 2.
Two base hits -- Crogan, Dunn and Smith
Stolen bases -- Dunn, Speidel, Nichol, Madden, Smith and Patterson.
Base on balls -- Mallory, 2; Smith, 1.
Struck out -- Mallory, 7, Smith 5.
Left on bases -- Wheeling, 6; Bells, 6.
Time of game -- 2 hours.
Umpire -- Robert McNichols
Dunn gets there with his little paddle every time.
The ninth and tenth enthused the crowd.
The boys crawled out of a small hole yesterday.
That left-handed catch of Maffatt's was well taken.
McNichols gave satisfaction to everybody by his impartial decisions.
Dudley played a strong game at second in spite of the mud.
The grounds were in poor condition yesterday, but the boys didn't seem to mind it. Arrangements will be made at once to drain the field properly so that this trouble will be done away with in future.
The Wheeling management has signed Link Moffatt, who played such a fine game for the Bells yesterday. He will probably play at third, where he is said to be very strong. He played with the Nashville team the first part of last season, and led the batting for that club, but the "Charley Horse" got the best of him down there and he had to come home. He has entirely recovered and will prove a valuable acquisition to the nine.
Mr. J. W. Grubb, the well-known jeweler, has come to the front with the offer of a splendid gold medal, to be given to the man who leads in the batting for the Wheeling nine during the championship season. The design has not yet been decided upon, but that it will be appropriate and artistic no one can doubt who is acquainted with the style of work done in his establishment. The medal will probably be completed during the coming week, and will be placed on exhibition in his window as soon as finished. Now let some other business men encourage the players by offering prizes for the best averages in fielding, etc., and it will spur the boys on to play great ball in the season about to open.
Service provided by the staff of the Ohio County Public Library in partnership with and partially funded by Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation.