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Players from the Camp Creek Cloudbusters (left) and Denver & Rio Grande Reds salute the spectators (who were nicknamed "cranks" in the 1800s) after the annual vintage baseball game at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site Sept. 5.

Good thing it's for fun: Final score in Rock Ledge vintage baseball game is 28-1

As a Camp Creek throw goes wild, a Denver & Rio Grande runner (whose barefoot style was probably not unheard-of in the 1800s) scores a tally during the team's 11-run fourth inning. The man in the foreground watching the play is the umpire.
It's a good thing the annual vintage baseball game, played on Labor Day at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, is all in fun.
       Otherwise, the 28-1 drubbing at the hands of the visiting Denver & Rio Grande Reds team Sept. 5 might have left a mark.
       But the local team, the Camp Creek Cloudbusters - consisting mostly of ranch staffers, volunteers and supporters - accepted it all with good sportsmanship and afterward saluted their opponents as well as the “cranks” (1800s term for fans).
       This newspaper can say with absolute certainty that none of our milk-drinking Camp Creek ballists were even tempted, despite their disappointment, to find a time machine so they could seek solace in the 20 unseemly taverns perched along the south side of the avenue in the old (not Old) Colorado City days of the late 19th century.
       The vintage game is played by a hybrid of rules used in the mid-to-late 1800s, including underhand pitching, no fielders' gloves and a hit ball caught on a bounce being an out.
       Roger Hadix of the Reds said the visitors (most of whom play in a Denver-area vintage league) brought in some new “ballists” this year, and it showed. Numerous “corkers” soared over the heads of Cloudbuster outfielders. It didn't help that the home team committed 20-some fielding "muffs."
       The big inning was the fourth. It started with the Reds leading 4-0. Eleven runs later, it was 15-0. The “tallies” kept mounting in the innings that followed, reaching 28-0 at one point.
       All that kept the Cloudbusters from being “skunked” was a seventh-inning double by Travers Jordan, combined with daring baserunning by Andrew Harmon, who raced home on the play with the team's lone “ace.”
       Hundreds of admission-paying spectators lined the field. The game may have been one-sided, but there were between-inning skits involving an “escaped convict,” “suffragettes” and “Teddy Roosevelt"; plus, refreshments were available (a welcome thing on such a hot, sunny day) from historically attired docents who worked the crowd as concessionaires.
       Ranch cow Punkin provided unplanned entertainment when she was attacked by a horsefly while grazing in the outfield and started jumping around. But centerfielder/ranch foreman John Winters managed to calm the animal down and lead her off the field.

Westside Pioneer article and photos
(Posted 9/5/16; Outdoors: Rock Ledge Ranch)

LEFT: Roger Hadix of the Denver & Rio Grande Reds goes up high for a pitch, but still managed to drive a liner that plated another run in the team's 28-1 victory. RIGHT: Camp Creek centerfielder John Winters had to put on his ranch foreman hat when Rock Ledge cow Punkin got agitated by a horsefly while grazing in the outfield.
A Denver & Rio Grande runner is thrown out at first after hitting a weak ground ball to the Camp Creek infield. It seemed like one of the few Denver hits during the game that wasn't clobbered.

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