sky-ball n Cf cat n 3b
A game in which one player sends a ball more or less vertically into the air, usu by striking a short lever with a bat, and the other players attempt to catch it; a similar game using a short stick instead of a ball.
1832 Norwich Courier (CT) 2 May /6, Be it ordained by the Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council of the city of Norwich . . , That if any person or persons shall play at ball, cat ball, or sky ball, or at ball generally, . . in any of the public streets of said city, the person or persons so offending shall forfeit and pay . . the sum of two dollars. 1871 Junkin Rev. George Junkin 538 csPA (as of c1800), On this very spot I hit the ball against the gable; just there I often struck the lever which sent the ball aloft in ‘sky-ball;’ down yonder we played ‘cat and ball.’ 1890 Pop. Sci. Mth. 37.654 seIA, He will lay the bat across a fulcrum and the ball upon one end of it, and then, striking the other end with his father’s axe, drive the ball out of sight into the blue sky, catching it as it comes down. When several play at this, the privilege of striking being earned by catching the ball, the game is called “sky-ball.” 1906 Sunday World–Herald (Omaha NE) mag sec 12 Aug 3/1 seTN (as of c1830), I’ve never seen ‘skyball’ played since I was a boy in Tennessee. It wasn’t played with a ball at all, but with a piece of wood, which, when in play, was laid with one end over a shallow hole scooped out of the ground for the purpose. The player who was ‘in’ struck the ball smartly on the end over the hole with a club, and the ball flew up into the sky . . , while the other players scrambled to catch it. [DARE Ed: Quoting Senator John Tyler Morgan of AL] 1954 Santa Cruz Sentinel–News (CA) 4 July 15/2, The boys could—and did—play rounders, one-o-cat and two-o-cat. And on the side hill, they played sky ball and catch. 1966–69 DARE (Qu. EE10, A game in which a short stick lying on the ground is flipped into the air and then hit with a longer stick) Inf FL6, Sky-ball; (Qu. EE33, . . Outdoor games . . that children play) Inf TN1, Sky-ball—drove stake in ground, laid ball on it, hit straight up with larger stick; see who can hit the highest. 1986 Pederson LAGS Concordance, 1 inf, swGA, Sky ball—childhood game.