Batting to win a story.., p.1
Batting to Win: A Story of College Baseball, p.1Lester Chadwick
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HE SLAMMED IT OUT FOR A THREE-BASE HIT.]
BATTING TO WIN
A Story of College Baseball
BY LESTER CHADWICK AUTHOR OF "THE RIVAL PITCHERS," "A QUARTER-BACK'S PLUCK," ETC.
NEW YORK CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY
BOOKS BY LESTER CHADWICK
=THE COLLEGE SPORTS SERIES=
THE RIVAL PITCHERS A Story of College Baseball
A QUARTER-BACK'S PLUCK A Story of College Football
BATTING TO WIN A Story of College Baseball
(Other Volumes in preparation) CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY NEW YORK
Copyright, 1911, by CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY
BATTING TO WIN
Printed in U. S. A.
CHAPTER PAGE I A STRANGE MESSAGE 1 II SID IS CAUGHT 16 III MISS MABEL HARRISON 27 IV ELECTING A MANAGER 41 V RANDALL AGAINST BOXER 59 VI THE ACCUSATION 75 VII GETTING BACK AT "PITCHFORK" 84 VIII THE ENVELOPE 92 IX A CLASH 100 X SID IS SPIKED 105 XI A JOKE ON THE PROCTOR 114 XII PLANNING A PICNIC 122 XIII A SPORTY COMPANION 131 XIV "MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!" 140 XV AN UNEXPECTED DEFENSE 146 XVI A SERIOUS CHARGE 152 XVII SID KEEPS SILENT 157 XVIII BASCOME GIVES A DINNER 163 XIX FAIRVIEW AND RANDALL 170 XX RANDALL SCORES FIRST 176 XXI RANDALL IN THE TENTH 183 XXII SID DESPAIRS 195 XXIII FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES 202 XXIV PITCHFORK'S TALL HAT 209 XXV A PETITION 219 XXVI TOM STOPS A HOT ONE 226 XXVII GLOOMY DAYS 233 XXVIII A FRESHMAN PLOT 239 XXIX THE SOPHOMORE DINNER 246 XXX TOM'S LAST APPEAL 255 XXXI THE BAN LIFTED 265 XXXII A PERILOUS CROSSING 275 XXXIII THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME 284 XXXIV BATTING TO WIN 295
BATTING TO WIN
A STRANGE MESSAGE
Sid Henderson arose from the depths of an antiquated easy chair, notwithout some effort, for the operation caused the piece of furniture tocreak and groan, while from the thick cushions a cloud of dust arose,making a sort of haze about the student lamp, and forcing two otheroccupants of the college room to sneeze.
"Oh, I say, Sid!" expostulated Tom Parsons, "give a fellow notice, willyou, when you're going to liberate a colony of sneeze germs. I--er--ah!kerchoo! Hoo! Boo!" and he made a dive for his pocket handkerchief.
"Yes," added Phil Clinton, as he coughed protestingly. "What do you wantto get up for and disturb everything, when Tom and I were so nice andquiet? Why can't you sit still and enjoy a good think once in a while?Besides, do you want to give that chair spinal meningitis or lumbago?Our old armchair, that has stuck to us, through thick and thin, forbetter and for worse--mostly worse, I guess. I say----"
"I came near sticking to it, myself," remarked Sidney Henderson,otherwise known as, and called, Sid. "It's like getting out of themiddle of a featherbed to leave it. And say, it does act as if it wasgoing to pieces every time one gets in or out of it," he added, makinga critical inspection of the chair.
"Then why do you want to get in or out?" asked Phil, closing a book,over which he had made a pretense of studying. "Why do you do it, I ask?You may consider that I have moved the previous question, and answer,"he went on. "How about it, Tom?"
"The gentleman is out of order," decided Tom, a tall, good-looking lad,with the bronzed skin of an athlete, summer and fall, barely dimmed bythe enforced idleness of winter. "Sid, you are most decidedly out oforder--I think I'm going to sneeze again," and he held up a protestinghand. "No, I'm not, either," he continued. "False alarm. My, what a lotof dust! But, go ahead, Sid, answer the gentleman's query."
"Gentleman?" repeated the lad, who had arisen from the easy chair, andthere was a questioning note in his voice.
"Here! Here! Save that for the amateur theatricals!" cautioned Tom,looking about for something to throw at his chum. "Why did you get up?Answer!"
"I wanted to see if it had stopped raining," announced Sid, as he movedover toward one of the two windows in the rather small living room andstudy, occupied by the three chums, who were completing their sophomoreyear at Randall College. "Seems to me it's slacking up some."
"Slacking up some!" exclaimed Tom.
"Stopped raining!" echoed Phil. "Listen to it! Cats and dogs, to saynothing of little puppies, aren't in it. It's a regular deluge. Listento it!"
He held up his hand. Above the fussy ticking of a small alarm clock,which seemed to contain a six-cylindered voice in a one-cylindered body,and which timepiece was resting at a dangerous angle on a pile of books,there sounded the patter of rain on the windows and the tin gutteroutside.
"Rain, rain, nothing but rain!" grumbled Phil. "We haven't had a decentday for baseball practice in two weeks. I'm sick of the inside cage, andthe smell of tan bark. I want to get into the open, with the green grassof the outfield to fall on."
"Well, this weather is good for making the grass grow," observed Tom, ashe got up from his chair, and joined Sid at the window, down which raindrops were chasing each other as if in glee at the anguish of mind theywere causing the three youths.
"Aren't you anxious to begin twirling the horsehide?" asked Sid. "Ishould think you'd lose some speed, having only the cage to practice in,Tom."
"I am, but I guess we'll get some decent weather soon. This can't lastforever."
"It's in a fair way to," grumbled Phil.
"It would be a nice night if it didn't rain," came from Sid musingly,as he turned back to the old easy chair, "which remark," he added, "isone a little boy made in the midst of a driving storm, when he met hisSunday-school teacher, and wanted to say something, but didn't knowwhat."
"Your apology is accepted," murmured Tom. "I don't know what you fellowsare going to do, but I'm going to sew up a rip in my pitcher's glove. Ithink maybe if I do the weather man will get a hunch on himself, andhand us out a sample of a nice day for us to select from."
"Nice nothing!" was what Phil growled, but with the activity of Tom ingetting out his glove, and searching for needle and thread, there came achange of atmosphere in the room. The rain came down as insistently, andthe wind lashed the drops against the panes, but there was an air ofrelief among the chums.
"I've got to fix a rip in my own glove," murmured Sid. "Guess I might aswell get at it," and he noted Tom threading a needle.
"And I've got to do a little more boning on this trigonometry," addedPhil, as, with a sigh, he opened the despised book.
For a time there was silence in the apartment, while the rain on thewindows played a tattoo, more or less gentle, as the wind whipped thedrops; the timepiece fussed away, as if reminding its hearers that timeand tide waited for no man, and that 99-cent alarm clocks were especiallyexacting in the matter. Occasionally Sid shifted his position in the bigchair, to which he had returned, each movement bringing out a cloud ofdust, and protests from his chums.
The room was typical of the three lads who occupied it. At the beginningof their friendship, and their joint occupation of a study, they hadagreed that each was to be allowed one side of the apartment to decorateas he saw fit. The fourth side of this particular room was broken by
Sid was rather an odd character, somewhat quiet, much given to study,and to delving after the odd and unusual. One of his fads was biology,and another, allied to it, nature study. He would tramp all day for asight of some comparatively rare bird, nesting; or walk many miles toget a picture of a fox, or a ground-hog, just as it darted into itsburrow. In consequence Sid's taste did not run to gay flags and bannersof the college colors, worked by the fair hands of pretty girls, nor didhe care to collect the pictures of the aforesaid girls, and stick themup on his wall. He had one print which he prized, a representation of afootball scrimmage, and this occupied the place of honor.
As for Tom and Phil, the more adornments they had the better they likedit, though I must do them the credit to say that they only had one placeof honor for one girl's photograph at a time. But they sometimes changedgirls. Then, on their side, were more or less fancy pictures--scenes,mottoes, and what not. Much of the ornamentation had been given them byyoung lady friends.
Of course the old chair and an older sofa, together with the alarmclock, which had been handed down from student to student until themind of Randallites ran not to the contrary, were the chief other thingsin the apartment, aside from the occupants thereof. Each lad had a desk,and a bureau or chiffonier, or "Chauffeur" as Holly Cross used to dubthem. These articles of furniture were more or less in confusion.Neckties, handkerchiefs, collars and cuffs were piled in a seeminglyinextricable, if not artistic, confusion. Nor could much else beexpected in a room where three chums made a habit of indiscriminatelyborrowing each other's articles of wearing apparel, provided they cameany where near fitting.
On the floor was a much worn rug, which Phil had bought at auction atan almost prohibitive price, under the delusion that it was a rareOriental. Learning to the contrary he and his chums had decided to keepit, since, old and dirty as it was, they argued that it saved them theworriment of cleaning their feet when they came in.
Then there were three neat, white, iron beds--neat because they weremade up fresh every day, and there was a dormitory rule against havingthem in disorder. Otherwise they would have suffered the fate of thewalls, the rug or the couch and easy chair. Altogether it was a fairlytypical student apartment, and it was occupied, as I hope my readerswill believe, by three of the finest chaps it has been my lot to writeabout; and it is in this room that my story opens, with the three ladsbusily engaged in one way or another.
"Oh, I say! Hang it all!" burst out Sid finally. "How in the mischief doyou shove a needle through this leather, Tom? It won't seem to go, forme."
"You should use a thimble," observed Tom. "Nothing like 'em, son."
"Thimble!" cried Sid scornfully. "Do you take me for an old maid? Wheredid you ever learn to use a thimble?" and he walked over to where Tomwas making an exceedingly neat job of mending his glove.
"Oh, I picked it up," responded the pitcher of the Randall 'varsitynine. "Comes in handy when your foot goes through your socks."
"Yes, and that's what they do pretty frequently these days," added Phil."If you haven't anything to do, Tom, I wish you'd get busy on some of myfootwear. I just got a batch back from the laundry, and I'm blessed ifout of the ten pairs of socks I can get one whole pair."
"I'll look 'em over," promised the pitcher. "There, that's as good asnew; in fact better, for it fits my hand," and he held up and gazedcritically at the mended glove. "Where's yours, Sid?" he went on. "I'llmend it for you."
Silence was the atmosphere of the apartment for a few minutes--that iscomparative silence, though the pushing of Tom's needle through theleather, squeaking as he forced it, mingled with the ticking of theclock.
"I guess we can count on a good nine this year," observed Tom judicially,apropos of the glove repairing.
"It's up to you, cap," remarked Sid, for Tom had been elected to thatcoveted honor.
"You mean it's up to you fellows," retorted the pitcher-captain. "I wantsome good batters, that's what I want. It's all right enough to have ateam that can hold down Boxer Hall and Fairview Institute, but you can'twin games by shutting out the other fellows. Runs are what count, and toget runs you've got to bat to win."
"Listen to the oracle!" mocked Phil, but with no malice in his voice."You want to do better than three hundred with the stick, Sid."
"Physician, heal thyself!" quoted Tom, smiling. "I think we will have agood----"
He was interrupted by the sound of footsteps coming along the corridor.Instinctively the three lads started, then, as a glance at the clockshowed that they were not burning lights beyond the prescribed hour,there was a breath of relief.
"Who's coming?" asked Tom.
"Woodhouse, Bricktop or some of the royal family," was Phil's opinion.
"No," remarked Sid quietly, and there was that in his voice which madehis chums look curiously at him, for it seemed as if he expected someone. A moment later there came a rap on the door, and then, with aseeming knowledge of the nerve-racking effect this always has on collegestudents, a voice added:
"I'm Wallops, the messenger. I have a note for Mr. Henderson."
"For me?" and there was a startled query in Sid's voice, as he went tothe door.
Outside the portal stood a diminutive figure--Wallops--the collegemessenger, so christened in ages gone by--perhaps because of thechastisements inflicted on him. At any rate Wallops he was, and Wallopshe remained.
"A message for me?" repeated Sid. "Where from?"
"Dunno. Feller brought it, and said it was for you," and, handing theyouth an envelope, the messenger departed.
Sid took out the note, and rapidly scanned it.
"See him blush!" exclaimed Phil. "Think of it, Tom, Sid Henderson, theold anchorite, the petrified misogynist, getting notes from a girl."
"Yes," added Tom. "Why don't you sport her photograph, old man?" and heglanced at several pictures of pretty girls that adorned the sides ofthe room claimed by Phil and himself.
Sid did not answer. He read the note through again, and then began totear it into bits. The pieces he thrust into his pocket, but onefluttered, unnoticed, to the floor.
"I've got to go out, fellows," he announced in a curiously quiet voice.
"Out--on a night like this?" cried Tom. "You're crazy. Listen to therain! It's pouring."
"I can't help it," was the answer, as the lad began delving among histhings for a raincoat.
"You're crazy!" burst out Phil. "Can't you wait until to-morrow to seeher, old sport? My, but you've got 'em bad for a fellow who wouldn'tlook at a girl all winter!"
"It isn't a girl," and Sid's voice was still oddly calm. "I've got togo, that's all--don't bother me--you chaps."
There was such a sudden snap to the last words--something so differentfrom Sid's usual gentle manner--that Phil and Tom looked at each otherin surprise. Then, as if realizing what he had said, Sid added:
"It's something I can't talk about--just yet. I've got to go--Ipromised--that's all. I'll be back soon--I guess."
"How about Proc. Zane?" asked Tom, for the proctor of Randall Collegewas very strict.
"I'll have to chance it," replied Sid. "I've got about two hours yet,before locking-up time, and if I get caught--well my reputation'spretty good," and he laughed uneasily.
This was not the Sid that Tom and Phil--his closest chums--had known forthe last three terms. It was a different Sid, and the note he received,and had so quickly destroyed, seemed to have worked the change in him.Slowly he drew on his raincoat and took up an umbrella. He paused amoment in the doorway. The rain was coming down harder than ever.
"So long," said Sid, as he stepped into the corridor. He almost collidedwith another youth on the point of entering, and the newcomer exclaimed:
"Say, fellows! I've got great news! Baseball news! I know this is arotten night t
"Come on in, Holly," invited Tom, "Holly" being about all that HolmanCross was ever called. "Come on in," went on Tom, "and chew it all overfor us. Say, it's great! A gold loving cup! We must lick the pants offBoxer and Fairview now!"
Holly started to enter the room, Phil and Tom reaching out and claspinghis hands.
"Where are you bound for?" asked Holly, looking at Sid, attired in theraincoat.
"I've got to go out," was the hesitating answer.
"Wait until you hear the news," invited Holly. "It's great! It will bethe baseball sensation of the year, Sid."
"No--no--sorry, but I've got to go. I'll be back--soon--I guess.I've--I've got to go," and breaking away from the detaining hand ofHolly, the strangely-acting boy turned down the corridor, leaving hisroommates, and the newcomer, to stare curiously after him.
"Whatever has gotten into old Sid?" inquired Holly.
"Search us," answered Phil. "He got a note a little while ago; seemedquite put out about it, tore it up and then tore out, just as you saw."
"A note, eh?" mused Holly, as he threw himself full length on a ricketyold sofa, much patched fore and aft with retaining boards--a sofa thatwas a fit companion for the ancient chair. It creaked and groaned underthe substantial bulk of Holly.
"Easy!" cautioned Phil. "Do you want to wreck our most cherishedpossession?"
"Anyone who can wreck this would be a wonder," retorted Holly, as helooked over the edge, and saw the boards that had been nailed on torepair a bad fracture. "Hello!" he exclaimed a moment later, as hepicked up from the floor a scrap of paper. "You fellows are getting mostuncommon untidy. First you know Proc. Zane will have you up on thecarpet. You should keep your scraps of paper picked up."
"We didn't put that there," declared Tom. "That must be part of the noteSid tore up."
Idly Holly turned the bit of paper over. It was blank on one side, but,at the sight of the reverse the athlete uttered a cry.
"I say, fellows, look here!" he said.
He held the paper scrap out for their inspection. It needed but a glanceto see that it bore but one word, though there were pen tracings ofparts of other words on the edges. But the word that stood plainly outwas "_trouble_," and it appeared to be the end of a sentence, for aperiod followed it.
"Trouble," mused Holly.
"Trouble," repeated Phil. "I wonder if that means Sid is going to getinto trouble?" and his voice took a curious turn.
"Trouble," added Tom, the last of the trio to use the word. "Certainlysomething is up or Sid wouldn't act the way he did. I wonder----"
"It isn't any of our affair," spoke Holly softly, "that is unless Sidwants our help, of course. I guess we shouldn't have looked at this.It's like reading another chap's letters."
"We couldn't help it," decided Phil. "Go ahead, Holly. Tell us about thetrophy. Sid may be back soon."
"All right, here goes," and wiggling into a more comfortable positionon the sofa, an operation fraught with much anxiety on the part ofPhil and Tom, Holly launched into a description of the loving cup.But, unconsciously perhaps, he still held in his hand that scrap ofpaper--the paper with that one word on--"_trouble_."
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