“The whole team has been on this ground half a dozen times, and has been getting just the batting and fielding practice necessary to supplement the gymnasium work.” The Chicago Tribune, April 19, 1876, p10
Previous earliest use (Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2009):
1ST USE. 1890. “The fielding practice consists of the throwing and batting of grounders” (Yenowine’s News [Milwaukee], June 1).