While much of the Dbacks fandom was either in downtown Phoenix for FanFest, or wishing they were so, the Arizona Territories Vintage Base Ball League was wrapping up their season with a two-game set between the Northwest Valley Prospectors and the Bisbee Bees. The Prospectors were looking to recover after a few bad games, having lost their last three and four of their last six, while the Bees hoped for a two game sweep that would leave the league with a four-way tie for second place. It was a fine afternoon in Sun City- who would come out victorious to end the season?
The first match started off well, with both teams putting up hits in the first few innings, but missing chances to collect on their opportunities. They put up a few tallies each, and the Prospectors led 4-2 going into the fourth inning. That was when things started to go wrong for the Bees, though. In the top of the fourth, the Prospectors collected hit after hit, batting around and notching 6 runs before the Bees finally made a third out. The Bees tried to fight back in the bottom of the inning, scoring three of their own to bring the score back to 10-5, but the Prospectors came back out in the fifth to score another five runs and put the game well out of reach. A few more runs crossed the plate for the Prospectors in the last two innings, but the Bees bats weren't able to do much, with the final score being 19-5.
The win assured the Prospectors a winning record on the season and sole possession of second place, while dooming the Bees to a spot below .500. The Bees came into the second game hoping to collect a tie for fifth place, but their offensive struggles continued. Both teams were hitting the ball well, but much of the time it would end up being an out, though not necessarily a routine one- the second game displayed several of the more impressive defensive plays I've seen in vintage base ball this season. The Prospectors only seemed to have much more luck in the second inning. With no hands dead and the bases loaded, their light-hitting behinder (yours truly) came to the plate and slapped a ground ball right between the first and second bases, bringing in two runs. The Prospectors managed two more runs, but the rest of the game was a defensive struggle, and the Prospectors toppled the Bees again, 4-0.
The outcome of the game left the Prospectors with a 8-4 record and in second place behind the KnickerStars, who finished the season 10-2. The Glendale Gophers and the Phoenix Senators tied for third place with a 6-6 record. The Bisbee Black Sox (actually from Bisbee) took fifth place at 5-7 while the Bisbee Bees (actually from Glendale) went 4-8 on the season, taking sixth just ahead of the 3-9 Tucson Saguaros.
The vintage season wraps up over the next two weeks. On February 19th, there will be an Vintage All Star Game in at Gopher Field in Glendale, with players from across the league putting together two teams to play each other. On February 26th, we'll have a double elimination tournament for the league, with the winner taking the league trophy home for the season. (Apparently there is actually a trophy- Forrest was talking about it this afternoon.) Still no word on where the tournament will be held yet, but hopefully we'll hear soon.