Monday, June 23, 2008

A Mazo belle ringing "The Mazo Bell"

MAZOMANIE – Lois O’Connell was in the bleachers in Mazomanie on Saturday watching her Mustangs take on the Pine Bluff Bluffers in a Home Talent League match up.

There were few things better to do that day for O’Connell. After all, what better way was there to spend the day than take in a baseball game on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year?

She was in attendance to support her son and his team. Her son, Dan O’Connell, was manager of Mazomanie ball club. And support she would, by ringing a bell, a gilded little treasure, with every good play made by the Mustangs.

Sometimes a double would elicit the sound of her bell. At other times, a nicely turned double play by the “Mazo” infielders would too. But not very often. It was certain plays that made her give the bell a vociferous shake.

“Especially when we score,” explained Lois. “Otherwise it’s clap, clap.”

Lois has been at it, cheering on the Mazomanie squad for some time now. As long as her son has been either playing or managing.

“How long has she been doing this?” Dan asked himself.

“For many, many years,” he said in reply. “I started in 1974, I guess. I was at Black Earth, Wisconsin from ’74 to ’93, and I came over to Mazo and started a team over here. And I enjoyed every minute of it. And she’s been ringing the bell down here when we score runs.”

Lois and the bell got a workout this particular Saturday. Mazomanie would end up winning the game in a high scoring 21 to 9 affair. Unfortunately for Pine Bluff, they still might hear the ringing in their ears.

In the bottom of the seventh with two runners on base, up by a score of 18-9, Mazomanie’s Mark Nelson stepped up to the plate with a chance to end the game.

“A single would have ended the game,” said Mark referencing the 10 run rule in the Home Talent League that ends play anytime after the seventh inning. “So I was just trying to put bat on ball and hit it hard somewhere. Sometimes that way you don’t overswing, and good things happen.”

Good things did, indeed, happen. A powerful drive over the right field fence resulted in a walk off homerun for Nelson and the Mustangs. An animated shake of “The Mazo Bell” by Lois signaled the end of the game.

“The offense was just on fire today, and I guess the credit goes to everybody,” said Dan O’Connell. “I don’t really think there’s any particular hero today. I guess everybody did their chores, and got the job done for us.”

If everybody did their chores, it was Nelson, at least, who used a little elbow grease and helped cap off the win.

Lois, meanwhile, wouldn’t end up putting her bell away for long.

Mazomanie would travel to Cazenovia the very next day, and Lois would trek along to one of the furthest outposts in the league. It was a double-up weekend for the Northern section where most teams had to play games two days in a row.

It would be a hike, but that didn’t matter.

“It’s such a pretty drive,” said Lois.

Considering it was the solstice, there was plenty of daylight to take in another ballgame and ring that bell.

Next weekend’s Home Talent League road trip: Lake Mills takes on Evansville at Warner Park in Madison on Sunday June 29 at the conclusion of the Mallards game.

Brian Carriveau is writing a book about the Home Talent League this summer. He can be contacted at

No comments: