The Game of Nugget

 Only a select number of people in the Clarenville area know of the game we used to call Nugget. It often played during the lunch break at Balbo Elementary in the late 80's and played after school at such places as Man Point and in George's Brook as well.  The game may be lost among today's youth to skateboards and video games, but the memories remain.  To keep some remnant of the game alive, I have decided to post the rules.

  The game is much like baseball, with some alterations.

The Playing field
    There were only a few places in the Clarenville area where nugget was played.  At Balbo Elementary, either behind the school or adjacent to the teacher's parking lot - although this area is now occupied by a playground.  For after school, players in Shoal Harbour would play at the field at Man Point.  Players in George's Brook would play at the open field across the convience store - this area later became occupied by a house.  The field it self mimicked the layout of a ball field, although it was common to play to have an irregular diamond for the base layout.  The homerun line was usually defined by a an object in the outfield.  
At man point, a large embedded rock was designated at the homerun line.  The right side of the field (what would normally be the foul ball area) graded downwards to another open field.  This became a poplar place to hit the balls for batters hitting on the right side of the plate.  Many balls were lost at sea, as some of them were launched into orbit, clearing the homerun and the edge of the cliff which led down to the beach.    

    Bat - aluminum or wooden,
    Tennis Ball - or a sponge ball if a tennis ball isn't available
    Gloves were optional, but were seldom used.  Ball caps could be used to catch balls as well.
    4 pieces of wood or large rocks (for bases).

    Two team captains toss the bat back and forth and fist up to see who gets first pick.  Once teams are picked, special rules are assigned if 'called'.  (crossbatting - allowing one to step over the homeplate tto hit the ball, pit-batting - for some of the smaller kids, pit-running - for injured players or slow runners).  To 'call' rules, a player had to name the rule and then step on homeplate to make it official.
    A batting order to the hitting team is assigned and the game begins as the opposing team sets up in the field.  There were no strikes or balls.  There were no foul balls - a ball could be hit in any direction - even backwards (introduced by Craig Vokey).  Later, this became a rule to be 'called' at the beginning of the game.  If the pitcher pitched in the ball (underhand of course) and the batter swung and missed and the cather caught the ball on one bounce or with no bounce at all, that batter was 'out' for the rest of the inning.  If the batter hit the ball, he would then run to the furthest base possible.  The ball was caught either in the air or on one bounce, the batter was out, again, for the rest of the inning.  If the ball is hit and played by a fielder, but not caught in the air or on a bounce, the fielder can attempt to get the player out by either throwing it to a baseman, or pinning off the runner by throwing it at him.  It was only a tennis ball, so it didn't result in any injuries.  Usually, a 5 run rule was applied to each inning.  Once the batting team were down to two players, 'channy' could be played in which a base runner, usually on first base could run back to homeplate from first upon the batter hitting the ball.  This didn't result in any runs though, it was utilized to make sure that there would be a next batter.  Once the team was down to one batter, he had to get a homerun or at least a base hit which would automatically send him to third base.  This would set up a pin off situation, where the runner would have to try to run home, while the pitcher would try to pin him off with the ball.  Fielders would also get behind the runner in case the pitcher missed the runner, so that they could retrieve the ball and try to pin him off before touching home plate.  If the batter scores a run either though hitting a homerun or by getting a base hit and then running safely from third to home, he then had to hit the ball past second base (either without bouncing, or with bounces - depending which was called at the beginning of the game).  If the batter was successful in doing this, then all of the batters who were out, were now back into the game.  Stealing bases were allowed as well.