Baseball has always been a popular pastime in Frederick County. The county has had professional, semi-professional, and amateur teams, often engaged in fierce competition for the title of league champion.
In the 1920s, Thurmont had an amateur baseball team that played in an eight-team county league, along with teams from Mt. Airy, Emmitsburg, Point of Rocks, New Market, Woodsboro, Middletown, and Brunswick.
Woodsboro emerged at the top of the heap at the end of the 1922 season. And when the 1923 season started, it was expected that they would again reign victorious. They met with a problem, though. It was Thurmont’s baseball team.
Near the end of July 1923, Woodsboro and Thurmont met at the Woodsboro baseball field for their first game against each other during the season. It was one of the largest crowds ever to turn out for a baseball game in Woodsboro. Not only were the two towns close enough in distance for a large crowd to turn out for the game, but it was a game between the two top teams in the league. Woodsboro was the defending champion and Thurmont was—at this eighth game of the season—still undefeated.
It was expected to be the clash of the titans. Instead, it was a continuation of the juggernaut that was the Thurmont baseball team of 1923. Thurmont “swept the Woodsboro lads entirely off their feet,” reported the Catoctin Clarion.
Though Woodsboro led at the end of the first inning, 2 to 1, it was the last time they led and also the last time they would score until the eighth inning. The final score was Thurmont, 23 and Woodsboro, 3.
“‘Sammy’ Freeze, pitching for Thurmont, had his opponents entirely at his mercy, allowing but four scattered hits, while Fox, pitching for Woodsboro, was touched for twenty-five hits, many of them being for extra bases,” reported the Catoctin Clarion.
On the hitting side, shortstop Ed Creeger led the way with six hits out of his seven times at bat.
“Time after time were the locals robbed of what looked like sure hits. So there was only one thing left for them to do and that was slug ‘em out over the heads of the outfield— and ‘Sammy’ wouldn’t let ‘em do that—so they were sort o’ between the devil and the deep sea,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.
The game lasted 2 hours and 25 minutes, though it was delayed for a few minutes by a bumblebee. It flew into the left armpit of Woodsboro’s catcher, Lynn Smith, and decided that it was a fine place to stay, much to Smith’s consternation.
Smith was also involved in another unusual incident during the game. “With the bat resting on his shoulder, he stepped forward to evade a high ball close to his head. The ball hit the bat back of his head and dropped about three feet in front of the plate. Ecken threw him out at first,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.
Coach “Eddie” Hooper was a very happy man at the end of the game, as Thurmont remained undefeated. In the eight games played so far in that season, Thurmont had scored 127 runs, as opposed to the 27 scored by its opponents.
“But what happened to Woodsboro? Were they over-trained? Was it nervousness or was it their off day?” the Catoctin Clarion asked.
Not that the reporter worried much about it. At the end of the day, Thurmont was still undefeated.