After a road game versus the West Chester Brandywines Saturday, April 5, the Lewes Vintage Base Ball Club will host Rising Sun for its home opener at 1 p.m., Sunday, April 13, at the University of Delaware campus near the Virden Conference Center at 700 Pilottown Road in Lewes.
The Lewes Historical Society is proud to be the home base of the Lewes Vintage Base Ball Club, a vintage team participating in the Mid-Atlantic Vintage Base Ball League and a member of the Vintage Base Ball Association. The club is sponsored by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.
The earliest known reference to date of baseball in Lewes is from February 1874, when a match pitting Lewes against Milton was advertised for March 1, 1874. Unfortunately, the outcome of that contest is not known. Lewes played home to a member of the Eastern Shore Baseball League in the early and mid-20th century.
The Lewes Vintage Base Ball Club plays by 1866 rules, which have several differences from contemporary baseball, the most notable being the ability to catch the ball on one bounce for an out and no gloves permitted for fielders. Also, pitchers throw underhand; batters are called strikers; strikes are called when a striker does not attempt to swing the bat after a warning from the umpire; and foul balls can be caught on the bounce for an out.
“2014 is the fifth year for the Lewes Vintage Base Ball Club; we are energized for the outcome of the season! We are very excited to be sponsored by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and we are looking forward to having our fans in the stands cheering us on,” said Mike DiPaolo, executive director of The Lewes Historical Society.
The club, a part of The Lewes Historical Society, is composed of men from the Lewes area. “When we started the team, our goal was to have fun, teach the public about 19th century baseball and life in Lewes at the time, and reach out to younger members of the community and their families. It’s been tremendously successful,” said DiPaolo, who plays on the team, often as catcher.
The club's regular schedule runs through September, and tournament play begins in early October. For more information about The Lewes Historical Society or the Lewes Vintage Base Ball Club, go to www.HistoricLewes.org or call 302-645-7670.