By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
Tryouts are scheduled to fill the two to four open spots on the Crestline Highlanders vintage base ball team. The tryouts are tentatively scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 29 in Twin Peaks at Harich Field. The time is still to be announced.
The Highlanders are Southern California’s reigning 2022 champions in vintage base ball. They play under 1886 base ball rules, which are more challenging than modern day baseball rules. They use vintage style equipment and uniforms, which includes gloves instead of mitts, meaning very few flyballs are caught for an out. They use heavier wooden bats, handmade balls that get softer with each hit and several other equipment differences.
The 1886 rules include being respectful to the Sir, who is the umpire, and there is an entire vocabulary of the positions and plays. Anyone can be the hurler (pitcher). There are seven balls before the hitter is walked, but three strikes and they’re out. The hurlers also rotate to another position when they tire of pitching. There is a whole culture and language that surrounds the vintage games, although the teams are serious and play to win.
The Crestline Highlanders are being sponsored by the Crestline Chamber of Commerce and their championship trophy is on display in the chamber office. They have been honored and walked in the Jamboree Days parade and celebrated for their wins in the local newspapers.
In February, the Highlanders have a game scheduled for the barnstorming San Francisco Pelicans and the San Luis Obispo Coasters teams, which are coming to the Inland Empire for some competition. In addition to playing against the 2022 SoCal champions, the Crestline Highlanders, they will play the 2021 champions, the Riverside Smudgepots, in games at the end of February. They will be playing the weekend of Feb. 25 and 26 with fields and times to be announced, as weather may be a factor in playing on the mountaintop.
If you are interested in playing vintage base ball on the SoCal vintage base ball champion team, contact Chris Dodd through his Facebook page. He is looking for a few good players who want to have fun this summer playing vintage base ball and representing the mountaintop in games all over the Southern California area. The teams they play against represent many communities from Redondo Beach to Temecula. The Crestline Highlanders play their home games at Harich Field in Twin Peaks.
Photo: Crestline Highlanders
The Crestline Highlanders with their 2022 league championship trophy. (File photo by Rhea-Frances Tetley)