Tyree appeared perfectly cool, but of course he was far from being so. He delivered his first offering, and the umpire called it a ball. A second followed likewise labeled. Some thought he feared Conway so much that he meant to pass him, to take chances with Gould, who had been less able to connect with the ball.
But with the third effort they heard again that suggestive “crack” as Conway struck, having finally received the ball he wanted. The crowd gave a convulsive gasp, but that was all; there was no time for anything more, so rapidly did events occur. Three runners were in motion, Conway heading down for first, Leonard making for second and O’Malley beating it along the line full-tilt toward third.
Owen Dugdale was seen to leap frantically up into the air, then almost fall over with the force of the ball which he held tightly in his right band. He did not make any attempt to cut the runner down at first, partly because Conway was already out through the catch, and then things were better fixed for him closer at hand. O’malley was coming down like a hurricane. He saw what had happened and tried to get back, but Julius was at the bag and ready to take the toss like lightning.
When the spectators saw him touch the bag, and that the umpire had made the motion to indicate that Leonard was easily out, a great shout arose; for the game was over.
After all the intense anxiety Scranton had won the first of the series of three games which she expected to play with Belleville, unless the other team failed to take the next one there would be no necessity for playing the “rubber.”
So Scranton boys were able to wend their way homeward in the coming dusk, singing their school songs, and feeling all the airs of conquerors. A happy crowd it was, taken in all, and rosy visions of the future naturally filled the minds and hearts of those boys who had fought so valiantly that day to overcome the enemy.
They could even look forward confidently now to the next game, which would be with Allendale, two weeks off; and some there were who already saw in imagination the championship pennant of the Three Town High School League floating from the flag-pole on the dear old campus during the Fall session of school.
WHAT THAD SAW
Some days passed.
As there would be no championship game the coming Saturday for Scranton High the town settled back into its ordinary condition, so far as the young people went. There were afternoons for practice, of course, when the full team was expected to be on deck, and renew their acquaintance with the many intricacies of the game as taught by Coach Saunders.
Still every other day the boys were at liberty to go and come as they pleased. Some made it a religious duty, as well as pleasure, to show up regularly at the ball grounds, where there were always enough fellows handy to get up a scrub game, for baseball aspirants were as thick as blackberries in August around Scranton that season. A great revival of interest in outdoor sports had struck the town, and promised to stick far into the fall and winter.