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"Bat-and-Ball" is a term that can help you find very early references to predecessor games in the US.
Brian Turner finds that the term is likely to connote a distinct form of early ballplaying; in an April 2020 email to Protoball, he said "I can confirm that Newburyport and other coastal towns north of Boston -- Salem, for example -- were places where the term "bat and ball" was used to refer to an unambiguously distinct game."
A May search of the Protoball Chronology for <bad and ball> yields 44 hits from circa 1745 to 1845. A subset of them may be specifically denote a game locally known as Bat and Ball.
The earliest seems to be in US President John Adams, in a reflection on his ballplaying youth.
Brian Turner, "Bat and Ball: A Distinct Game or a Generic Term?", Base Ball Journal (Special Issue on Origins), Volume 5, number 1 (Spring 2011), pages 37-40.
We are in 2020 conferring with Brian to try to characterize the rules of play in these references, to the extent that they are mentioned in these items.Edit with form to add a comment
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