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     The New Boys at Oakdale, p.1

       Morgan Scott / Young Adult
The New Boys at Oakdale
Produced by Roger Frank and the Online DistributedProofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net



HE THRUST OUT HIS HAND FOR OSGOOD TO TAKE.]

THE NEW BOYS AT OAKDALE

By MORGAN SCOTT

Author of

”Ben Stone at Oakdale,” ”Boys of Oakdale Academy,” ”Rival Pitchers ofOakdale,” ”Oakdale Boys in Camp,” ”The Great Oakdale Mystery,” etc.

A. L. BURT COMPANY

Publishers--New York

Printed in U. S. A.

Copyright, 1913

BY

HURST & COMPANY

Printed in U. S. A.

CONTENTS CHAPTER I--AN ORDER DISOBEYED. CHAPTER II--THE SCORE TIED. CHAPTER III--BENCHED. CHAPTER IV--WYNDHAM'S LAST DESPERATE STAND. CHAPTER V--THE DIPLOMACY OF OSGOOD. CHAPTER VI--THE SUSPICIONS OF SLEUTH. CHAPTER VII--YOUNG SPORTS. CHAPTER VIII--A HOT GAME. CHAPTER IX--THE BLOW AND AFTERWARDS. CHAPTER X--THE LIE. CHAPTER XI--PIPER SURPRISES HIS FRIENDS. CHAPTER XII--DREAD. CHAPTER XIII--THE PROFESSOR'S APPEAL. CHAPTER XIV--PIPER PUTS IT UP TO SHULTZ. CHAPTER XV--STILL SILENT. CHAPTER XVI--THE FACE AT THE WINDOW. CHAPTER XVII--THE GREAT FEAR. CHAPTER XVIII--FLIGHT. CHAPTER XIX--THE APPARITION IN THE WOODS. CHAPTER XX--THE SEARCH. CHAPTER XXI--THE CAMP ON THE ISLAND. CHAPTER XXII--A SURPRISING CONFESSION. CHAPTER XXIII--ANOTHER SURPRISE. CHAPTER XXIV--SHULTZ SEES A LIGHT. CHAPTER XXV--INTO THE OLD QUARRY. CHAPTER XXVI--THE CONFESSION. CHAPTER XXVII--LIKE A MIRACLE. CHAPTER XXVIII--COMRADES ALL.

THE NEW BOYS AT OAKDALE

CHAPTER I

AN ORDER DISOBEYED.

Oakdale started the game by hammering Ollie Leach, the Wyndham pitcher,for three runs in the first inning. Indeed, it seemed that they woulddrive the schoolboy twirler from the slab in short order, and they mighthave done so only for a snappy, clean-cut double play which put anabrupt end to the fusillade of hits. When the Wyndham captain declinedto make a change and sent Leach back to the mound in the second inning,the wondering Oakdalers told one another that they would finish thefoolhardy southpaw then and there.

Leach, however, had steadied down a great deal, and the best thevisitors could do was to squeeze in one more run, which they practicallysecured through a rank error by Pelty, the shortstop. At this point thesuccessful batting of the visitors seemed to come to an abrupt end, forduring the succeeding four innings Ben Stone was the only man who couldhit the left-hander safely.

Meanwhile, Rodney Grant was doing some steady, clever pitching forOakdale, which, with perfect support, would have prevented the localsfrom gathering a single tally. Ned Osgood committed the first costlyblunder. Covering third for Oakdale, he attempted to make a fancy playon a grounder, and let it get through him, enabling a Wyndham runner toscore from second after two were out.

In the fifth, with two Wyndhamites gone, Charley Shultz, in the middlegarden, tried to pull down a fly with one hand when he could have easilyreached it with both hands, and his muff gave the locals anothervaluable mark in the scorer's book.

Jack Nelson, the Oakdale captain, reprimanded Shultz when, following astrike-out, the team trotted to the bench.

”You should have had that fly, Charley,” said Nelson sharply; ”and youwould have got it if you'd went after it with both hands instead of one.That's the first time I've seen you drop a ball you could reach aseasily as that one. Quit your grandstanding and play baseball.”

Shultz shot Nelson a sullen look. ”Oh, what's the use to holler?” heretorted. ”I knew best whether I could reach it with both hands or one.I think I know how to play that field.”

Nelson's teeth came together with a click, and for a moment, his cheeksburning hotly, it seemed that his annoyance and anger would master him,but he succeeded in holding himself in check.

”You can play the field all right, Shultz,” he said, ”and it's justbecause you can that I disapprove of that attempted fancy flourish.We've got to hold these chaps down somehow.”

”Oh, don't worry,” laughed Osgood optimistically. ”We've got them beatennow. We won the game in the first inning.”

”Mebbe we did, but we didn't paound Lefty Leach off the slab,” remindedSile Crane. ”Gall hang that feller! I hit him once, but I'll be switchedif I can seem to do it ag'in. He's sorter got me locoed!”

”He seems to have rattled everybody belonging to this whole bunch,” saidChipper Cooper. ”We ain't any of us doing ourselves proud--'cepting oldStoney.”

Nor did they improve in the first of the sixth. Leach was working asharp drop that had them all breaking their backs to the distastefulmusic of the Wyndham cheers. Grant was effective in the latter half, andthe seventh opened with him at bat.

”Start us off, Rod,” implored Nelson, as the Texan secured his bat andleft the bench. ”Let's sew this thing up with some more runs.”

The fellow from the Lone Star State made no reply, but he squaredhimself grimly in the batters' box and took the measure of one ofLefty's drops. The hit was, appropriately, a Texas leaguer, and thevisiting spectators howled joyously as Rod capered to first.

Chipper Cooper, coaching on the line back of first, flapped his armswildly and crowed like a rooster. As the cheering of the little knot ofOakdale Academy students died down somewhat, Chipper was heard whoopingjoyously:

”Here we go! The lucky seventh! Don't try to steal second, Rod; thatwould be a base thing to do. We're after old Lefty again, and now we'llfinish the job we started in the first round.”

On the opposite side of the diamond Phil Springer, likewise enthused andexcited, was wildly stuttering at the same time:

”Gug-gug-great work, Gug-Gug-Grant. Some cuc-cuc-class to that littlebub-bingle. Take a gug-gug-good lead. Shultzie saw how you dud-dud-didit. He'll drive you round.”

There was in this contest between rival high school nines little of thatcalculation and method employed by professionals and generally termed”inside baseball.” Nevertheless, Jack Nelson knew the importance of teamwork and had done his best to drill his players in some of therudiments. The deadly accuracy of the Wyndham catcher's throwing tobases was well known to the Oakdale lads, and, with no one down, anattempt to steal seemed inadvisable to Nelson. Shultz, the next batter,had been hitting the ball hard, even though he had found it impossibleto place his hits safely, and instantly Nelson spoke a word to him andsignalled to the watchful Texan at first that it was to be ahit-and-run.

On previous occasions, with the situation similar, the visitors hadseemed to prefer sacrificing; and so, as Shultz confidently took hisposition at the plate, the infield drew closer, every fellow on his toesto go after a bunt or a short grounder.

Leach made sure his support was prepared for action, and then, wettinghis fingers, he handed up a high whistler that had a bit of a jump onit.

Even though the ball was on a level with his cap visor, Shultz managedto hit it, boosting a high fly toward the smiling sky.

Grant was half way down to second when he heard a shrill, warning cryfrom both coachers.

”Look out! Get back! Skyscraper!” shrieked Cooper.

”Hey! Bub-bub-bub-bub----” Springer continued to ”bub” even after thegalloping Texan had plowed his spikes into the ground, brought himselfto a halt and turned to race desperately back to the initial sack.

Little Pelty got under that high one and reached for it eagerly in hisgreat desire to make the catch and turn it into a double play by a throwthat should reach first ahead of the returning runner. For the moment,with the exception of the still shrieking coachers, every spectatorseemed breathless and silent. Pelty got the ball, froze to it and made abeautiful throw, but Grant's amazing promptness in stopping and gettingback at high speed saved him by a yard or more, and he was declared safeat first.

”Pretty close, pretty close,” cried Baxter, the Wyndham captain.

”Missed by a mile,” contradicted Cooper, intensely relieved. ”You can'trope this wild Texas steer; he's never been branded.”

”Cuc-cuc-come on, Osgood,” implored Springer, as the next hitter wasseen to rise from the bench; ”you're the boy to do the trick.”

Already Nelson had given Ned Osgood his instructions.

”Bunt, Osgood,” were his swift words. ”They may look for us to follow upwith a hit-and-run. Sacrifice Grant along on the second ball pitched.Stone is the next batter.”

That he was right in his judgment concerning the locals was proven bythe fact that the infielders resumed their regular positions, while theoutfielders fell back a little. Persistent plugging at the hit-and-rungame is frequently resorted to by teams having poor success throughother methods, and the action of Baxter in signaling his players to fallback showed that he believed an attempt would be made to repeat the playthat had been foiled through Shultz's high infield fly.

Leaning forward in a natural position, with his elbows on his knees andthe fingers of his hands interlocked, Nelson thus telegraphed to Grantthat the hitter would let the first ball pass and try to sacrifice onthe next.

Jack's foresight seemed excellent, for, fancying the visitors would beeager to continue the hit-and-run attempt, Leach ”wasted one” on Osgood,who did not even remove his bat from his shoulder.

”Let him do it again,” piped Cooper. ”Let him put himself in a hole,Osgood, then pick out a good one when he has to put it across.”

Osgood, although he liked the game, was both obstinate and conceited,having a great deal of confidence in himself as a batter and believingthat he knew as much about baseball as any fellow on the team.

Therefore, perceiving that the next ball was coming over slightly morethan waist high and apparently just where he wanted it, he declined tobunt and swung with all his force, hoping to make a long, sensationaldrive which would go safe and cover him with glory. Instead of doingthis, he smashed a hot grounder straight into the hands of Foxhall, thesecond baseman.

Grant, fully expecting a sacrifice, was again racing down the line fromfirst, and now he had no time to turn back. Without delay, yet with adeliberation that made for sureness, Foxhall turned and threw to first,completing an easy double play that was brought about directly throughthe batter's perverseness in declining to follow the instructions of hiscaptain.


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