Lester Chadwick.

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[Illustration: THE GAME WON - PHIL, AMID A RIOT OF CHEERS, KEPT ON TO
SECOND]




THE RIVAL PITCHERS
A Story of College Baseball

BY
LESTER CHADWICK

AUTHOR OF "A QUARTER-BACK'S PLUCK," ETC.

ILLUSTRATED

NEW YORK
CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY




BOOKS BY LESTER CHADWICK


THE COLLEGE SPORTS SERIES

12mo. Illustrated

THE RIVAL PITCHERS
A Story of College Baseball

A QUARTER-BACK'S PLUCK
A Story of College Football

(Other volumes in preparation)

CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY NEW YORK


Copyright, 1910, by
CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY

THE RIVAL PITCHERS

Printed in U. S. A.




CONTENTS


CHAPTER PAGE

I THE OLD BELL CLAPPER 1
II A GOOD THROW 19
III A BASEBALL MEETING 27
IV THE HAZING 42
V A SCRUB GAME 51
VI THE POLE RUSH 62
VII TOM HOLDS HIS OWN 69
VIII AT PRACTICE 77
IX A GAME WITH BOXER HALL 86
X A COIL OF WIRE 93
XI AN ELECTRIC SHOCK 104
XII TOM DOESN'T TELL 112
XIII A GIRL AND A GAME 120
XIV TOM'S CURVES 132
XV A SOPHOMORE TRICK 139
XVI TOM MAKES A DISCOVERY 147
XVII AN EXPOSTULATION 152
XVIII SOME "OLD GRADS" 160
XIX TOM IN COLD WATER 168
XX A GAME OF ANOTHER SORT 176
XXI ON THE GRILL 185
XXII DARK DAYS 192
XXIII AT THE DANCE 200
XXIV DRESS SUITS COME HIGH 208
XXV TOM IN A GAME 216
XXVI THE FRESHMAN DINNER 227
XXVII TOM IS KIDNAPPED 234
XXVIII THE ESCAPE 240
XXIX ANTICIPATIONS 247
XXX A GREAT GAME 255
XXXI LANGRIDGE APPEALS 272
XXXII THE FINAL CONTEST 281
XXXIII VICTORY 293




THE RIVAL PITCHERS




CHAPTER I

THE OLD BELL CLAPPER


Down the green campus they strolled, a motley group of sturdy freshmen,
talking excitedly. In their midst was a tall, good-looking lad, who
seemed to be the center of discussion. Yet, in spite of the fact that
the others appeared to be deferring something to him, he regarded them
with rather an amused and cynical smile on his face. He paused to brush
an invisible bit of dust from his well-fitting clothes.

"Well, aren't we going to make a try for it to-night?" asked one youth,
whose hat was decorated with a silk band, yellow and maroon in color.
"My uncle, who used to be a football coach here, says the freshmen
always used to get it the first week of the term. My uncle - - "

"Oh, let up about your uncle, Fenton!" exclaimed the lad on whose word
the others seemed to depend a great deal. "I've heard nothing but your
uncle, your uncle, ever since you came here. Give us something new."

"That's all right, Fred Langridge, but my uncle - - "

"There you go again!" interrupted Fred. "I guess I know what the custom
is, as well as your uncle. He hasn't been here in fifteen years."

"I know that, but he says - - "

"Say, if you speak uncle again, I'll land you one on the jaw, and
that'll keep you quiet for a while." The words, in spite of their
aggressiveness, were good-natured enough, and were spoken with a smile.
Ford Fenton, who seldom took part in any conversation about college
sports or frolics without mentioning his relative, who had been a
well-known coach at Randall, looked first surprised, then hurt, but
as he saw that the sympathies of his companion freshmen were with
Langridge, he concluded to make the best of it.

"I guess I know what the customs are here," repeated the well-dressed
lad. "Didn't I get turned down at the exams, and ain't I putting in my
second year as freshman? I helped get the clapper last year, and I'll
help again this term. But I know one thing, Fenton, and that's not two."

"What's that?" eagerly asked the youth who had boasted of his uncle.

"That's this: You may not get the clapper, but you'll get something
else."

"Why, what's the matter?"

For answer Langridge silently pointed to the gay hatband of the other.

"Take it off - take it off," he said. "Don't you know it's against the
sacred customs of Randall College for a freshman to wear the colors on
his hat until after the flagpole rush? Don't you know it, I ask?"

"Yes, I heard something about it."

"Better strip it off, then," went on Langridge. "Here come Morse and
Denfield, a couple of scrappy sophs. They'll have it off you before you
can say 'all Gaul is divided into three parts,' which you slumped on in
Latin to-day."

Fenton looked up, and saw approaching the group of freshmen which
included himself, two tall lads, who walked along with the swagger that
betokened their second year at college. The hand of Fenton went to his
hat, to take off the offending band, but he was too late. The sophomores
had seen it. They turned quickly and strode over to the group of first
years.

"Would you look at that, Morse!" called Denfield in simulated wrath.

"I should say so," came the answer. "The nerve of him! Hi, fresh, what
are you doing with that hatband?"

Then Fenton did something totally opposed to the spirit of Randall
College. He, a freshman, dared to talk back to a sophomore.

"I'm wearing it," replied he pertly. "Does it look as if I was playing
ping-pong with it?"

The sophomores could hardly believe their ears. There was no imitation
in the surprise that showed on their faces.

"For the love of Mike! Listen to him!" gasped Morse. "Grab him, Denfield!
Wow! But things are coming to a pretty pass when a fresh talks like that
the first week. Look out now, youngster, you're going to get a little
lesson in how to behave to your betters."

The two sophomores reached out their hands to grab Fenton. He made a
spring to get behind a protecting wall of his comrades, and for a moment
it looked as if the second year lads would be bested, for there were at
least fifteen freshmen. But Langridge knew better than to let his
friends get into trouble that way.

"Let 'em have him," he advised in a low voice. "It's the custom, and he
knew it. He deserves it all."

Thereupon the freshmen divided, and offered no opposition to the twain,
who gathered in their man. Morse snatched off the hat with the offending
band, and, while Denfield held the struggling Fenton, ripped off the
ribbon. Then with his knife Morse began cutting the hat to pieces.

"Here, quit that!" yelled Fenton. "That's a new hat!"

"Softly, softly, little one," counseled Denfield. "I pray thee speak
softly."

Though Fenton struggled to escape, the other easily held him, and the
freshman was forced to witness the destruction of his nice, new soft
hat. Having thus, as he believed, wiped out the insult offered, Morse
carefully folded the ribbon and placed it in his pocket.

"Maybe you'll get a chance to wear it - after the pole rush," he said
calmly. "I don't believe you will, for we're going to wipe up the ground
with you freshmen this term. But if you do, I'll give you back your
ribbon - er - what's your name, freshman?"

"Fenton," answered the humiliated one.

"Fenton what?"

"Ford Fenton."

"Say 'Fenton, sir,'" counseled Langridge in the other's ear.

"Don't you know how to reply to a gentleman?" asked Denfield fiercely,
shaking Fenton from a neckhold he had. "Say sir, when you speak to a
soph."

"Sir!" cried Fenton, for the grip hurt him.

"That's better. Now remember, no more ribbons until after the pole rush,
and maybe not then. This to all you freshies," added Morse.

"Oh, we know that," put in Langridge. "But we'll all be wearing them
after next week, and we'll be wearing something else, too."

"Nixy on the clapper, old chap!" called Denfield. "We won't stand for
that."

"We'll see," responded Langridge. "All is not gold that doesn't come out
in the wash."

"Ha! He speaks in parables!" cried Morse. "Well done, old chap! But come
on, Denfield. I've got a date."

The youth holding Fenton gave him a sudden turn and twist that sent him
spinning to the ground, and as he picked himself up the two sophomores
walked off, as dignified as senators.

"Confound them!" muttered Fenton as he brushed the dust off his clothes.
"I've a good mind to - - "

"Easy, now," advised Langridge. "They're sophs, you know. Go easy!"

"But that's no reason why we should let them walk all over us!" exclaimed
a sturdy lad, who had watched, with rising anger, the attack on Fenton.
"I don't see why a crowd of us fellows should take whatever mean things
they want to inflict."

"That's all right, Clinton," declared Langridge. "It's college custom,
just the same as it is for us to take the clapper out of the chapel
bell, have it melted up, and cast into watch charms. It's college
custom, that's all."

"That's all right, it may be; but I like to see a fair fight!" went on
Phil Clinton. "I could have tackled Morse alone, and he's bigger than I
am."

"Maybe you could, but you'd have the whole sophomore class down on us if
you did, and you know what that means. No, let it go. Fenton brought it
on himself by wearing the band."

"I wish they'd tackled me," murmured the sturdy Clinton.

"I wish they had," echoed Fenton. "Look at my hat."

"That's all right, my uncle says I can have a new one!" piped up a
shrill voice, in imitation of Fenton's usual tones.

"Holly Cross, or I'm a Dutchman!" exclaimed Langridge, turning quickly
to glance at a newcomer, who had joined the ranks of the freshmen.
"Where've you been, Holly?"

"Down by the boathouse, watching the crew practice. I'll give you an
imitation of Billy Housenlager pulling," and Holly, or Holman, Cross,
began a pretense of rowing in grotesque style.

"That's Dutch all over," admitted Langridge. "He goes at it like a house
and lot."

"What's up?" demanded Holly, for he had seen from afar the little
rumpus. "Has 'my uncle' been cutting up?" and he winked at Fenton.

"That's all right," began the aggrieved one, who did not seem to know
when he was being made fun of. "Look at my hat," and he held up the
felt article, which was in tatters.

"New style," commented Holly casually. "Good for hot weather. Fine for a
souvenir. Hand it around and we'll all put our initials on it, and you
can hang it in your room. But say, is there anything doing?"

"There may be, to-night," answered Langridge.

"So - so?" asked Holly with a wink, the while he pretended to ring an
imaginary bell.

"Keep it mum," was Langridge's answer. "You fellows want to meet at the
boathouse to-night," he went on, as if giving orders. "Don't forget what
I told you, and don't walk as if you had new shoes on. Take it easy. Be
there at eight o'clock. Come along, Holly. I want to talk to you."

Langridge linked his arm in that of the newcomer, and the two strolled
off to one side of the college campus, while the group of freshmen made
their way toward one of the two large dormitory buildings.

"He orders us around as if we were working for him," objected Phil
Clinton. "Langridge takes too much for granted."

"Well, he's been here a year, and I s'pose he feels like a soph,"
remarked Sid Henderson.

"Maybe, but that doesn't make him one. He thinks because he's got plenty
of money, and comes from Chicago, that he can run things here, but he's
not going to run me," and Phil stuck out his square, well-formed jaw in
a manner that betokened trouble.

"Aren't you going to help get - - " began Ed Kerr, who was quite a chum
of Langridge.

"Easy!" cautioned Sid. "Here are some sophs."

A group of second-year students passed the freshmen with suspicious
glances, but, seeing no offending colors, nor any other evidences of
anything that could be taken to mean that their traditional prey had
violated any rules, they saw nothing objectionable.

"Don't mention clapper," went on Sid.

"That's right," agreed Ed Kerr. "But I was going to say that Fred knows
the ropes better than we do. If we stick to him we'll come out all
right. It's no fun to try for - for it, and have the sophs give us the
merry ha-ha."

"Oh, we'll try to get it," assented Phil Clinton, "but I don't like
being ordered around."

"Langridge doesn't mean anything by it," spoke his friend.

"Well, I don't like it." And with that the lads passed into the
dormitory, for it was nearly time for supper, and the rule was that they
must come to the tables neatly dressed.

A little later Langridge and Holly strolled up to the buildings where
the three hundred students of Randall College were housed.

"Then you'll be on hand, eh?" asked Langridge.

"Oh, yes, I reckon so. But it seems like a lot of work for what we get
out of it."

"Get out of it! You old anthropoid!" exclaimed Langridge. "What's the
matter with you? Going back on the college customs?"

"What's an anthropoid?" asked Holly Cross, as he deftly juggled three
stones with one hand. "How's that for good work?" he asked irrelevantly.

"An anthropoid is a second cousin to a cynic," answered Langridge, "and
a cynic is a fellow whose liver is out of order, which makes him have a
bad taste in his mouth and get out of the wrong side of bed."

"Get out, you camel-backed asteroid!" cried Holly. "There's nothing the
matter with my mouth, and I can get out of either side of my cot without
knowing which side it is."

"Are you coming to-night?"

"Sure, I'll be there."

"All right; that's what I want to know."

Holly and Langridge passed into the east dormitory, where they had been
preceded by the other group of freshmen. This building was given over
to rooms for the first year and senior students, while in the west
dormitory the sophomores and juniors, as being the least likely to
indulge in hazing and horse-play, did their studying and sleeping.

There are few institutions of learning better known throughout the
Middle West than Randall College. It had been established several
decades before, and though small at first, and unimportant, the thorough
methods used soon attracted attention from parents who had sons to
educate. Many a well-known man of to-day, who has made his mark in the
world, owes part of his success, at least, to Randall College, and he is
proud to acknowledge it. In time, because of liberal endowments, and
because the institution became better known, its influence spread,
until, from a small seat of learning, it became a large one, and now
students from many States attend there.

Randall College was most fortunately situated. It was on the outskirts
of the town of Haddonfield, and thus was connected by railroad with
the outside world. It was far enough away from town to be rid of the
distractions of a semi-city life, yet near enough so that the advantages
of it could be had.

The buildings composing the college consisted of several in addition to
the main one, containing the classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories,
study rooms and the like. There was Biology Hall, a magnificent gift
from an alumnus, and Booker Memorial Chapel, a place of worship,
containing some wonderful stained-glass windows. The chapel was the gift
of a lady, whose only son had died while attending the school. Back of
the main college building, and somewhat to the left, was a modest
structure, where the faculty, including Dr. Albertus Churchill, the
venerable president, had their living apartments.

Farther to the rear of the main structure were two buildings that
contained dormitories and rooms for the three hundred or more students.
There were two dormitory buildings, the east and the west, and, for
obvious reasons, one, the eastern, was inhabited by the freshmen and
seniors, while the juniors and sophomores lived, moved and had their
being in the other.

The gymnasium, which was well equipped, was located a little to the left
of the west dormitory, and it adjoined the baseball diamond and the
football gridiron. Skirting the edges of this big, level field were the
grandstands and bleachers, for sports had a proper and important part in
life at Randall.

Standing on the knoll in front of the main building, one looked down a
gentle, grassy slope to Sunny River, which twisted in and out, lazily
enough, around a hill that contained the college and the grounds. The
campus swept down, in a sort of oval, to the very edge of the stream.
And there is no finer sight in all this country than to stand on the
steps of the main building some fine summer day (or, for that matter, a
wintry one) and look off to the river. If you are patriotic, and of
course you are, you will take off your hat to the colors that fly from a
tall flagpole in the center of the campus.

Sunny River was a beautiful stream, not as broad as some rivers, but
sufficiently so to provide boating facilities for the Randall students.
On it, every year, was held the annual regatta, Randall and some other
institutions participating. There was a large boathouse on the edge of
the river, located on your left as you stood on the campus, facing the
water.

Sunny River flowed into Lake Tonoka, which was about a mile below the
college, and in the midst of the lake was Crest Island. What exciting
times that lake and river have seen during the summer season! What
rowing races! What swimming races! What jolly picnics! And, let us
whisper, what mysterious scenes on nights when some luckless candidate
was initiated into a secret society!

On the farther side of the river from the village, and near the junction
with the lake, was a sort of park, or summer resort. A trolley line
ran from it to the town of Haddonfield, but the students more often
preferred to walk to the village, rather than wait for the cars, which
ran on uncertain schedules.

At the lower end of Lake Tonoka, just over the line in another State,
was Boxer Hall, a college somewhat smaller than Randall, while to the
west, fifteen miles away, was Fairview Institute, a co-educational
school that was well patronized. The three institutions had a common
interest in sports, and there was a tri-collegiate league of debating
clubs that often furnished milder, if more substantial, excitement.

It was an evening in early April, of the new term after the Easter
vacation, that a number of freshmen, who had taken part in the lively
scene of the afternoon, and some students who had not, met silently and
stealthily back of the boathouse on the back of Sunny River. The night
was cloudy, and thus it was darker than usual at that hour.

"Have you fellows got the rope?" asked Langridge in a whisper, as he
took his place at the head of the little force.

"Of course," answered Phil Clinton.

"There's no 'of course' about it," retorted Langridge arrogantly. "I've
seen the time it's been forgotten."

"What are we going to do with it?" asked Sid Henderson.

"Use it to hang a soph with," spoke Holly Cross. "Prepare to meet thy
doom!" he added in a sepulchral voice.

"Cut it out, Holly," advised Langridge. "I'm afraid the sophs are on to
us as it is."

"Then we'll rush 'em!" exclaimed Phil Clinton aggressively.

"No, that won't do any good. We'd never get the clapper, then."

"I know a good way," spoke Fenton. "My uncle says - - "

"Say, you and your uncle ought to be in a glass case and in the museum,"
called Holly. "Dry up, Fenton!"

"Where's the Snail?" asked Langridge.

"Here," replied Sam Looper, who, from his slow movements, and from the
fact that he loved to prowl about in the dark, for he could see well
after nightfall, had gained that nickname. "What do you want?"

"Will you climb up the rope after I get it in place?"

"Sure."

"Then come on," whispered Langridge. "I guess it's safe now. There don't
appear to be any one stirring."

The mysterious body of freshmen moved off in the darkness toward the
Booker Memorial Chapel. Their object, as you have probably guessed, was
to climb to the steeple and remove the clapper from the bell, a prank
that was sanctioned by years of custom at Randall College. Once the big
tongue of iron was secured, it would be taken to a village jeweler, who
would have it melted up and cast into scores of miniature clappers.

These, when nickel-plated, made appropriate watch charms for the freshmen
class, and suitably, they thought, demonstrated their superiority over
their long-time rivals, the sophomores. For it was the duty of the
second-year students, if possible, to prevent the taking away of the
clapper. The purloining of it must always be done the first week after
the Easter vacation, and if this passed by without the freshmen being
successful, the clapper was safe, immune and inviolate. Hence the need of
haste, as but two more nights were left. Once the clapper was taken the
class had to contribute money enough to buy another for the voiceless
bell.

Silently, as befitted the occasion, the lads made their way from the
rendezvous at the boathouse toward the chapel. Their plan was simple. On
top of the cupola which held the bell was a large cross. It was the
custom to tie a stone, or some weight, to a light cord, throw the weight
over the cross, and by means of the thin string haul up a heavy rope. Up
this rope some freshman would climb, remove the clapper, and slide down
again, while his comrades stood guard against any attack of sophomores.

"Who's going to throw the stone?" asked Ed Kerr, as he walked along
beside Langridge.

"I am, of course."

"Oh, of course," repeated Clinton in a low voice. "You want to run
everything."

"Well, Fred Langridge is a good pitcher," spoke Sid Henderson. "He's
likely to make the 'varsity this year."

"Um!" was all Phil said.

The boys reached the chapel, and, under the direction of Langridge, the
cord and rope were made ready.

"Got a good stone?" asked the leader.

"Here's a hunk of lead," replied Ed. "I made it on purpose. It's not so
likely to slip out as a stone."

"That's good. Hand it over."

The lead was soon fastened to the cord.

"Look out, now, here goes!" called Langridge. "I'm going to pitch it
over. Be all ready, Snail."

He stepped back, and tossed the lead, intending to make the cord fall
across one arm of the cross. But either his aim was poor, or he could
not discern well enough in the darkness the outlines of the cross.

"Missed it!" exclaimed Clinton.

"Well, so would you," growled Langridge. "Some one stepped on the cord."

"Let Snail try," suggested Henderson.

"I'm doing this throwing," declared Langridge curtly.

"It doesn't look so," murmured Phil.

Langridge tried again, but with no success.

"Hurry," spoke Kerr. "The sophs will be out soon."

Langridge made a third attempt, and failed. Then Snail Looper called out
in an excited whisper:

"Here come the sophs! Cut it!"

"No!" cried Langridge. "Hold on! I'll get it over now. Fight 'em back,
boys!"




CHAPTER II

A GOOD THROW


There was excitement in the ranks of the freshmen. They formed in a ring
about Langridge, who once more prepared to throw the weight over the
cross.

"Hold 'em back, boys!" he pleaded. "We can do it. It won't take five
minutes to get the clapper after the rope's up."

"But first you've got to get it up," replied Clinton.

"And I will. Cut out your knocking. Here goes!"

Off to the right could be seen a confused mass of shadows moving toward
the chapel. They were the sophomores, who in some mysterious manner had
heard of the attempt to take the clapper, and who now determined to
prevent it.

"They're coming," said Kerr ominously.

"I know it," answered Langridge desperately. "Keep still about it, can't
you?" he asked fretfully. "You make me nervous, and I can't throw
well."

"Humph! He must be a fine pitcher if he gets nervous," declared Clinton.

Langridge glanced at the circle of freshmen about him. There were enough
of them to stand off the rush of the sophomores, who, as they came
nearer, were observed to be rather few in number.

"Here it goes!" exclaimed the rich youth, and he threw the lead weight
with all his force. It struck the cross, but did not carry the cord over
the arm.

"At 'em, fellows! At 'em!" yelled the leading sophomores. "Tear 'em
apart! Don't let 'em get the clapper!"

There was a struggle on the outer fringe of freshmen, who crumpled up


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