They retreated in a strategic fashion, so that possibly no one was the wiser for their having been behind the bushes, unless Brother Lu chanced to take a notion to peep from behind some fluttering white dimity curtain.
“Well, what does it all mean, do you know, Hugh?” finally burst out Thad, after they had gone far enough away to make it safe to talk in ordinary tones.
“I think I have guessed why he seemed so tickled after reading the article which we figured would give him such a bad scare,” said Hugh, with a grim smile. “The fact of the matter is he hoodwinked me when he told such whopping yarns about the terrible sheriff of the oil regions. There may be such a chap, all right, but his name isn’t Hastings by a long shot. He just invented that name, you see; and when he read Jim’s article about his being up here, he tumbled to the game.”
“Oh! it’s rotten luck!” groaned Thad; “after all that beautiful strategy we’ve fallen down flat. No use talking, Hugh. Jim, that fellow is a sticker, and it begins to look as if he couldn’t be budged or pried loose with a crowbar. But I’m not the one to give a thing up because I’ve failed once or twice; just wait till I get my third wind, and I’ll settle Brother Lu’s hash for him!”
So they wandered back to town, sadder but wiser from their new experience.
SCRANTON FANS HAVE A PAINFUL SHOCK
The nine from Mechanicsburg showed up that afternoon on time. They were a husky-looking lot of young chaps, accustomed to hard toil in the mills, and with muscles that far outclassed the high-school boys. But, as every one knows, it requires something more than mere brawn to win baseball games; often a club that seems to be weak develops an astonishing amount of skill with bat and ball, and easily walks off with the victory.
Mechanicsburg was “out for blood” from the very start. They depended a great deal on their slugging abilities, and declared that no pitcher the Scranton players might offer could resist their terrific onslaught.
When the first inning was over at last it began to look as if their boast might be made good, for the score stood five to one. Frazer was in the box for Scranton, Hugh not wishing to use his star pitcher unless it was absolutely necessary. He was a bit afraid that something might happen to Tyree that would put him on the bench and thus they would be terribly handicapped in their first game with Allandale on the following Saturday.
Now, Frazer was a pretty dependable sort of a slab artist, and if the Scranton boys had not had Alan Tyree they might have believed him a Number One. But while Frazer had a number of good curves and drops, and a pretty fair amount of speed, he seemed only able to deceive those huskies from Mechanicsburg in spurts.