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       Baseball Joe of the Silver Stars; or, The Rivals of Riverside, p.1

           Lester Chadwick
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Baseball Joe of the Silver Stars; or, The Rivals of Riverside


  Produced by Donald Cummings and the Online DistributedProofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net

  JOE WAS DOING GOOD WORK.]

  Baseball Joe of the Silver Stars

  OR

  _The_ Rivals _of_ Riverside

  _By_ LESTER CHADWICK

  AUTHOR OF "THE RIVAL PITCHERS," "A QUARTERBACK'S PLUCK," "BATTING TO WIN," ETC.

 

  NEW YORK CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY

  BASEBALL JOE OF THE SILVER STARS

  Copyright, 1912, by Cupples & Leon Company

  CONTENTS

  CHAPTER PAGE I A Hot Game 1 II Tieing the Score 11 III Mrs. Matson is Worried 23 IV A Row with Sam 31 V Joe Helps the Manager 41 VI Joe Has Hopes 50 VII Laughed at 58 VIII A Mean Protest 66 IX Joe in the Game 73 X A Tight Contest 80 XI Joe's Run 89 XII Discontent 96 XIII Scientific Practice 103 XIV A Kettle of Apple Sauce 110 XV Joe Overhears Something 119 XVI Mr. Matson is Alarmed 129 XVII A Throwing Contest 136 XVIII Another Defeat 143 XIX Joe is Watched 151 XX "Would You Like to Pitch?" 161 XXI To the Rescue 167 XXII A Delayed Pitcher 174 XXIII Joe in the Box 185 XXIV Sam Arrives 191 XXV Joe Foils the Plotters 197 XXVI Sam Resigns 208 XXVII Bad News 215 XXVIII The Fight 221 XXIX The Challenge 228 XXX The Winning Throw--Conclusion 233

  BASEBALL JOE

  CHAPTER I

  A HOT GAME

  "Come on, Sam, get a move on. I thought you'd be out on the diamond longago. What's the matter?"

  "Oh, I had to help dad put in some fence posts. I'm through now,Darrell, and I'll be right with you."

  "Setting fence posts; eh?" and Darrell Blackney, the young manager ofthe Silver Star baseball nine of Riverside looked critically at SamMorton, the team's pitcher. "Well, Sam, I hope it didn't make you stiffso that you can't put some good balls over the plate. It's going to be ahot game all right."

  "Oh, forget it!" cried Sam, as he finished buttoning his jacket while hejoined his chum. "We'll beat 'em to a frazzle all right. I'm going topitch my head off to-day."

  "You may--if you don't go to pieces the way you once did."

  "Say, what you talking about?" demanded Sam, with some warmth. "I canpitch all right, and don't you forget it." He seemed unnecessarilyaroused.

  "Oh, I know you can pitch," spoke Darrell easily, "only I don't want youto be too sure about it. You know the Resolutes of Rocky Ford have astrong team this season, and their pitcher is----"

  "Oh, I know what Hen Littell is as well as you," broke in Sam. "Hethinks he's a whole lot, but you wait. I've got a new drop ball,and----"

  "Well, then, you'd ought to have been out on the diamond this morning,practicing with Bart Ferguson. He's got a new catching glove, and if youand he can connect on the curves we may do some good work. But I wishyou'd had some practice this morning."

  "So do I, but dad made me help him, and I couldn't very well get off. Itried to sneak away, but he got on to my game and put a stop to it."

  "Oh, well, of course if you had to help your father that's different,"spoke Darrell, who was a manly young chap, somewhat in contrast to Sam,who was not as upright as he might have been. Sam had a boastful andconfident air that caused many to dislike him, but as he was the bestpitcher the Silver Stars had had in some seasons his short-comings wereoverlooked.

  And certainly Sam had been pitching pretty good ball thus far. True, attimes, he "went up in the air," but all pitchers are likely to do thison occasions. Sam had great belief in his own ability.

  There was considerable baseball feeling in the little town of Riverside,located on the Appelby River, in one of our New England States. Thoughthe nine was an amateur one, and composed of lads ranging from fourteento nineteen years of age, yet many fast games had been seen on thevillage diamond, which was kept in good shape by volunteers. A smalladmission sum was charged to view the contests and from this the boyswere able to buy their uniforms, balls, bats, and other things. Withsome of the money the grounds were renovated from time to time, and thefences, bleachers and grandstand kept in order.

  There was a sort of informal county league existing among several ninesin the towns surrounding Riverside, and perhaps the bitterest rivals ofthe Silver Stars were the Resolutes of Rocky Ford, a place about fivemiles farther up the stream than Riverside. To-day one of the games inthe series was to take place, and the occasion, being Saturday, was agala one in the home town of the Silver Stars, on whose grounds thecontest was to take place.

  "Well, you'll have a little time for practice before the game begins,"remarked Darrell as he and Sam walked toward the diamond. "We've gotabout an hour yet."

  "Are the Resolutes here?"

  "They hadn't come when I passed the grounds a little while ago on my wayto see you. I couldn't imagine what kept you."

  "Well, it was all dad's fault. Hang it all----"

  "Never mind," broke in Darrell quickly. "Dads are all right as a rule."He had lost his own father not long since, and his heart was still sore.He could not bear to have any one speak disrespectfully of parents. "Iguess we'll make out all right," he added.

  "Oh, sure we will!" exclaimed Sam, full of confidence. "They won't havea look in."

  "Well, hurry up and get in some practice with Bart," advised themanager.

  "Who's going to cover first to-day?" inquired Sam, as they hurried alongthe streets, which were already beginning to fill with the crowds makingtheir way to the game.

  "I think I am for most of the time," answered Darrell. "George Rankinand I talked it over and decided that would be a good way to lead off.Later, if I find I'm needed on the coaching line, I'll let Tom Davistake my place."

  "Tom isn't much good."

  "Oh, I think he is."

  "Didn't he miss two hot throws to first base in the game last Saturday?"

  "That was because you put them over his head. You want to be careful,Sam, when there are two on the bags, how you throw to first. Lots oftimes I have to jump for your throws, and if I wasn't pretty quick at itthey'd get by me."

  "Oh, well, you won't have any complaint to-day. I'll get 'em there allright. But you'd better stay in the whole game yourself."

  "I'll see. Hark, what's that?"

  The inspiring notes of a coaching horn echoed down the village street.

  "Sounds like a tally-ho," remarked Sam.

  Just then there swung into view a large stage, drawn by four horses, thevehicle filled with a cheering, shouting and laughing crowd of boys.

  "That's the Resolute team," said Darrell. "They're coming in style allright."

  Again there came the thrilling notes of the bugle, blown by some one inthe stage. Then followed another large vehicle, filled with a throng ofcheering lads.

  "They've brought a crowd along," commented Sam.

  "Yes, maybe they're depending on rooters to help them win the game."

  "Well, our fellows can root some too," spoke the pitcher. "I'm gladthere's going to be a big crowd. I can pitch better then."

  "Well, do your best," urged the manager. "T
here's Percy Parnell and FredNewton over there. I thought they were out on the field long ago."

  "Maybe they had to set fence posts too."

  "Maybe," assented Darrell with a laugh. "And here comes Tom Davis. Who'sthat with him?" and the pitcher and manager glanced at a tall,well-formed lad who was walking beside the substitute first baseman."Evidently a stranger in town," went on Darrell.

  "Yes, I've seen him before," remarked Sam. "He lives down on our street.The family just moved in. His name is Batson, or Hatson, or somethinglike that. His father works in the harvester factory."

  "Hum," mused Darrell. "He looks like a decent sort of chap," and hegazed critically at the stranger. "Maybe he'd like to join our club,"for the ball team was a sort of adjunct to a boys' athleticorganization.

  "Oh, we've got enough fellows in now," said Sam quickly.

  "Always room for one more," commented the manager, who was ever on thelookout for good material for the nine. Perhaps Sam suspected somethinglike this, for he glanced quickly at his companion.

  "Say, if you think I'm not good enough----" began the pitcher, who wasnoted for his quick temper.

  "Now, now, drop that kind of talk," said Darrell soothingly. "You knowwe're all satisfied with your pitching. Don't get on your ear."

  "Well, I won't then," and Sam smiled frankly.

  By this time Percy Parnell, the second baseman, and Fred Newton, theplucky little shortstop, had joined the pitcher and the manager, andgreetings were exchanged.

  "Are we going to wallop 'em?" asked Fred.

  "Sure thing," assented Sam.

  "It's going to be a hot game all right," was Percy's opinion.

  "All the better," commented Darrell. "Say the people are turning out ingreat shape, though. I'm glad to see it. We need a little money in ourtreasury."

  They turned in at the players' gate. The Resolute team had precededthem, and already several of the members of that nine were in theiruniforms and out on the diamond. They were lads of the same age as theirrivals, and had about the same sort of an organization--strictlyamateur, but with desires to do as nearly as possible as the college andprofessional teams did.

  But there was a great difference, of course, and mainly in the ratherfree-and-easy manner in which the rules were interpreted. While it istrue that in the fundamentals they played baseball according to thegeneral regulations, there were many points on which they were atvariance, and a professional probably would have found much at which tolaugh and be in despair. But what did it matter as long as the boys, andthose who watched them, enjoyed it? Not a bit, in my opinion.

  As the Silver Star lads proceeded to the improvised dressing rooms underthe grandstand, several more of the Resolute players hurried out,buttoning jackets as they ran.

  "Oh, we'll get you fellows to-day all right!" shouted Henry (otherwiseknown as Hen) Littell, pitcher and captain of the Resolutes.

  "All right, the game's yours--if you can take it," called back Darrell,with a laugh.

  The diamond soon presented an animated scene, with many players and afew substitutes pitching, catching or batting balls about. The crowdswere beginning to arrive and occupy seats in the small grandstand or onthe bleachers. Many preferred to stand along the first and third baselines, or seat themselves on the grass.

  Approaching the grounds about this time were the two lads of whom Samand Darrell had spoken briefly. One was Tom Davis, the substitute firstbaseman and the other boy whom Sam had referred to as "Batson" or"Hatson." Sam had it nearly right. The lad was Joe Matson, and as he isto figure largely in this story I will take just a moment to introducehim to you.

  Joe was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Matson, and had lately moved toRiverside with his parents and his sister Clara, who was a year hisjunior. The family had come from the town of Bentville, about a hundredmiles away. Mr. Matson had been employed in a machine works there, andhad invented several useful appliances.

  Located in Riverside was the Royal Harvester Works, a large concern. Insome manner Mr. Isaac Benjamin, the manager, had heard of the appliancesMr. Matson had perfected, and, being in need of a capable machinist, hehad made Mr. Matson an offer to come to Riverside. It had been accepted,and the family had moved in shortly before this story opens.

  Joe was a tall, well-built lad, with dark hair and brown eyes, and a wayof walking and swinging his arms that showed he had some athletictraining. He had made the acquaintance of Tom Davis, who lived in thehouse back of him, and Tom had asked Joe to go to the game that day.

  "For it's going to be a good one," said Tom proudly, since he was amember of the nine, even though only a substitute.

  "Who's going to win?" asked Joe, as they approached the grounds.

  "We will, if----" and then Tom stopped suddenly, for there was a yellfrom inside the fence and a moment later a ball came sailing over it,straight toward the two lads.

  "Look out!" yelled Tom. "That's a hot one! Duck, Joe, duck!"

  But Joe did not dodge. Instead, he spread his legs well apart and stoodready to catch the swiftly-moving horsehide in his bare hands.

 
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