Will’s NCA Lions played in Chattanooga’s old Engel Stadium this week. Built in 1929, the old stadium played host to New York Yankees exhibitions, Negro League games, and years of Lookouts seasons.
Thursday’s game was played during intermittent drizzles, and with several Lions teammates unable to make the trip due to end of the school year exams, the team was able to field three regular starters, who had to play unfamiliar positions.
The regular centerfielder James had to play shortstop, and his twin brother Josiah, usually the third-baseman, had to catch. The rest of the team included three semi-regulars, and three young players who had barely left the bench all year.
Will was the only pitcher of the nine, and under the circumstances, he pitched a gem of a game. Friday I copied down the scorebook of the game, and discovered he pitched four no-hit innings before allowing a sole safety in the fifth inning. Without his best stuff, he pitched three scoreless innings and did not allow an earned run.
The Lions committed four ill-timed errors, that extended innings. Still, Will struck out five batters.
Will had rode to the game with Ben Hoffer, and on the way they spied an aromatic BBQ place, and after the game they stopped for a bite. The place was a run-down cinder block hut in a not-so-nice part of downtown Chattanooga…a place few sensible people would dare go.