It's 1915, and the Germans have just ""sunk a ritzy passenger ship . . . somewhere,"" while nine-year-old Patrick fights his own turf war at home. When his pals' Hell's Kitchen ball field is invaded by a non-Irish gang, the Copperheads, Patrick challenges the intruders to a winner-take-all game. His condition for winning, carefully worded in the third person, is that ""Doyle will hit one over the fence."" The plan is to bring the Irish baseball champ (and Patrick's favorite player, by virtue of their shared last name), Laughing Larry Doyle, to the lot; invited in a fan letter, the slugger shows up, though only to coach. With visions of his saintly, snake-biting namesake in his head, Patrick banishes the Copperheads himself. Armstrong (Black-Eyed Susan, 1995, etc.) pens a feeble entry for the Stepping Stone series, with equal doses of baloney and blarney in a contrived historical sitcom. The characters are folksy, but the dose of ethnic enmity never becomes more than gratuitous.