Baseball season is coming to an end. The bats and mitts may have been replaced with footballs, and soon with the larger, rounded basketball.
Baseball has been an enjoyable sport for young and not-so-young for many years. It is a sport that most anyone can play, but only a few manage to play really well.
When I was a kid, someone owned a ball and someone else owned a bat. We had little knowledge of rules and usually not enough to make even one team, much less two, but we had fun hitting the ball and running around the “bases” . No umpires, no adult supervision and no broken windows that I can recall.
Today, I will share the story of a group of boys who took the game very seriously, and had a coach and a manager who could help them perfect their game.
The team was the Beavercreek High School team of 1941.
The boys had enjoyed winning local games while anticipating the prospect of being able play in the Ohio State finals.
April 28, 1941 the game was played on the Cedarville College Campus when Beavercreek defeated Bellbrook with a score of 6-4 on Monday.
Tuesday’s contest featured Cedarville and Bowersville. The winner of that game would play Beavercreek the following Monday.
Excitement ran high when the Beavercreek team scored three runs in the second inning. Beavercreek defeated Cedarville High School with a win of 4-2. With this win, they became the Greene County League Champions.
The newspaper reported that “Walt Kendig hurling for the victorious Beavers smashed out a home run to help his own cause.”
The team was on a roll with the next game scheduled reported on May 6, 1941. “Beaver nine plays second tourney tilt. Greene County championship baseball club was scheduled to play a first round Class B. game in the northern one/half tourney of the southwestern Ohio District at 3 p.m. Thursday.” The game was held at Dayton’s Fairmont High School.
For the first round, the boys from Beavercreek were scheduled to play Montgomery County. Beavercreek showed their prowess by scoring a 7-5 victory over the other team.
The Beavercreek team was on a roll when they defeated Brookville and won the one-half tournament for the South West District Ohio baseball title.
The next game was played against Jackson Center at Trotwood.
May 16 was the semi-final for Class A and B for the Northern half of the South West District. Beavers played at Triangle Park and defeated Elizabeth of Miami County,
The Xenia Gazette reported the following on May 24. “BEAVER NINE EARNS STATE FINAL BERTH” The report is quoted “A gallant little band of baseball players from Beavercreek High School, who first won the Greene County championship and then emerged with the southwestern district Class B. title found itself battling New Reigel for the state title at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Saturday afternoon, following two preliminary wins Friday.”
“Walter and Dale Kendig, Beaver baseball brothers, divided pitching duties in the first game Friday morning when the duo shut out Mifflin, Central district representative by a 7 to 0 score. Bo Workman is the Beaver catcher.”
“In the second game, played Friday afternoon, Beaver assured itself of a berth in the state “B” finals by spilling Reading 4 to 2. New Reigel won first-round and semi –final games Friday to advance into the big game against Beaver.”
“Charles Rumschlag, who hurled a pair of two-hit games for New Reigel Friday, was slated to oppose Beaver in the supreme test Saturday. New Reigel beat Smithfield 3 – 6 in the morning and defeated Coldwater 4 – 2 in the Afternoon round.
Behind 1 to 0 in the semi-finals Beavercreek forged ahead in the fifth inning when Kenny Coy smashed out a home run with two men on to score three of the four tallies in that stanza.”
And so, the Beavercreek baseball club had earned the title of State Champions in the “B” Division.
Excitement was high when the team returned home to Greene County after a most successful season.
The team under the guidance of Manager Richard Barrett and Coach S.E. Bradstreet received appropriate recognition. Players were Walt Kendig, Benny Koogler, Jim Engle, Burman Duncan, Dawson Kendig, Albert Nash, Jack Wheaton, Clifton Duncan, Kenneth Coy, Roger Greene and Robert Workman
Beavercreek had previously been designate a “dark horse” but they certainly proved that they did not fit that category when the Battling Beavers brought home the trophy as the Ohio State Championship “B” baseball team for the 1941 year.
Joan Baxter is a local resident and weekly historical columnist.