“I’m on, Dick! Confound that fellow, Ripley. And he’s as slick and slippery as an eel. I don’t suppose there is any way that we can catch him?”
“If I knew a way I’d use it,” growled Prescott. “I’m sick of having this thing so onesided all the time. Ripley plans, and we pay the piper. The blackguard!”
“Then you’re sure Ripley is at the bottom of these accidents?”
“The accidents are planned,” retorted Dick. “Who else would care to plan them, except that disagreeable fellow?”
“I’d like to get just proof enough to justify me in demanding that he stand up before me for twenty rounds,” gritted Dave Darrin.
Dave did take extraordinary care of himself, and was on hand to pitch at the game with Chichester. This game, like the first, was on the home grounds.
It was a close game, won by Gridley, two to one. In some respects Chichester’s fielding work was better than the home team’s. It was undying grit that won the battle—–that and Dave Darrin’s pitching.
As the jubilant home fans left the ball grounds it was the general opinion that Dave Darrin was only the merest shade behind Dick Prescott as a pitcher.
“Either one of them in the box,” said Coach Luce to a friend, “and the game is half won.”
“But how about Ripley?”
“Ripley?” replied the coach. “He made a good showing in the tryouts, but we haven’t had in the field yet. He will be, though, the next game. We play Brayton High School over at Brayton. It’s one of the smaller games, and we’re going to try Ripley there.”
Then the coach added, to himself:
“Ripley is presentable enough, but I believe there’s a big yellow streak in him somewhere. I wouldn’t dare to put Fred into one of the big games requiring all the grit that Prescott or Darrin can show!”
A TIN CAN FOR THE YELLOW DOG
With Ripley in the box Gridley won its third game of the season, beating Brayton High School by a score of five to two.
“It ought to have been a whitewash against a small-fry crowd like Brayton,” Coach Luce confided to Captain Purcell.
“What was our weak spot, Coach?”
“Have you an opinion, Captain?” asked the coach.
“Yes, but I’m afraid I’m wrong.”
“What is your idea?”
“Why, it seemed to me, Mr. Luce, that Ripley went stiff at just the wrong times. Yet I hate to say that, and I am afraid I’m unfair, for Rip surely does throw in some wonderful balls.”
“You’ve struck my idea, anyway,” responded Mr. Luce. “Please don’t say anything about it to the other men. But, between ourselves, Captain, I think we’ll do well to give Ripley few and unimportant chances this season. Most people can’t see where real grit comes in, in baseball”
“Yet you think the lack of grit, or stamina, is just what ails Rip?” asked Captain Purcell keenly.