“Flick reached first on a gift, and McFarland laid down a pretty bunt, but McCormick, by fast fielding, scooped the ball with one hand and threw down to Dahlen, forcing Flick.” Chicago Tribune, August 7, 1898, p6
Previous earliest use (Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2009):
1ST USE. 1905. “[Johnny] Kling, instead of laying the ball down, sent a long fly to left” (Chicago Tribune, May 4; Peter Morris).