The air was becoming brisk and the sun was setting over the horizon. It was a close game and tension and excitement was running high in the dugout. Strike one, strike two, strike three, and back out to the field we went. I had just gotten a new glove and I was really excited to use it before the game. So far in the game the stiffness of the glove didn’t affect me that much, I had made a couple of plays and I didn’t even really notice it.
This inning looked to be the same after I made an easy play, one out. The next batter takes a couple of pitches and eventually draws a walk, one out runner on first. The double play was in check and I was expecting the ball to come my way. Indeed the ball found its way to me but not in the form that I’d expected. A dinky little pop-up to my left. Since I’d been playing up the middle for a double play, I had to engage in a full sprint to try and get the ball. I tracked it down and I realized that it would be close so I’d have to dive. Meanwhile in all of this the runner on first was confused as to where he should be and everyone in the dugout, the coaches and the rowdy parents were screaming. I make my leap and in my perspective it looked like I was going to catch it and hopefully double the runner off at first. I took my eye off the ball for one little fraction of a second and I lost the ball. It hits my glove with a thud and because my glove was still stiff I couldn’t squeeze it well enough for me to hold on. The ball found its way out of my grasp and trickled away. I quickly got up and tossed the ball to first but it was too late, a missed opportunity that could’ve just cost my team the game. To say the least I was furious, I slapped my hand against my thigh and started kicking the dirt. A blown opportunity, nothing made me madder. My teammates and coaches tried to signal to me that it was okay and I didn’t need to worry about it and just make the next play, but I knew the stakes and I knew that that silly little mistake was unacceptable. I wanted revenge, to redeem myself at my next at bat. I kept that at bat on my mind while the next batter stepped to the plate. I was praying that my mistake wouldn’t lead to a run but it didn’t work. The next batter lined a single to the outfield and by the time the throw got in the cutoff man the runner had already trotted home and was on his way back to the dugout to celebrate with his teammates. Now I’m even more furious, but to our luck our pitcher struck out the next couple of batters and sent us back to the dugout to get ready to hit.
When I finally reach the dugout I throw my glove as hard as I can down at my bag and a quickly strap on my batting gloves, put on my helmet and get ready to hit. I study the tall lanky pitcher very closely as I’m taking my warm up swings because I need to get every advantage possible. I noticed he didn’t throw anything too overpowering and he didn’t throw too slow to the point where my timing would be messed up. We both knew what was on the line and neither of us wanted to mess it up for our team. During all of this the coach comes up to me and whispers in my ear, “Rip one.” I take my last couple of swings and walk to the plate.
I step into the box and stare down the pitcher in the eyes with a pure look of hatred. He goes into his windup and I don’t particularly like the pitch so I take it, ball one. I step out of the box, take a warm up swing and look down the third base line for the sign. Swing away the coach motions and I give a quick nod to show I got it and I step into the box and get ready for the next pitch. The pitcher delivers the ball, and in my view the ball looks high but the umpire disagrees. Strike one, and the count sits one and one. This time I don’t step out of the box as I gear for the next pitch. The ball comes and it’s middle in, perfect. I take my step and swing with all my might and unfortunately I come up empty. The count now sits one and two and I have to protect the plate to the best of my ability to prevent a strikeout. Once again, I call timeout, and take a deep breath as well as a quick warm up swing before I step back into the box.
The next pitch the pitcher makes a very weak attempt at a curve ball and the ball sails over my head just about hitting me. I quickly sprawl in the dirt and quickly pop up and give the smirking pitcher a nasty look. Two and two shouts the ump as I gear up for the next pitch. Again the pitcher misses badly as the ball sails to the fence and ump coughs, “Three and two! Three and two!” Three and two, I think to myself this will be the best pitch I will see this whole at bat and I need to take advantage of it. The pitcher winds up and the balls comes middle in, another opportunity to do some damage. I start my swing and the drive the bat threw the zone and I hear a bang. I smashed that ball I thought to myself.
Immediately, I take off for first as fast as I can and the first base coach is yelling with enthusiasm, “Go! Go! Go!” The thought of looking to see where the ball was going didn’t even enter my mind as I headed for second. Just when I was about to reach second I see my third base coach motioning for me to bypass third and go all the way home. Due to the coaches over exaggeration of telling me to advance I thought it might have been a double in the gap but after I crossed home I realized that all that wasn’t necessary, it was a home run and a tie game. I had succeeded and I couldn’t have been happier as I trotted back to the dugout with a huge smile on my face.
When I reached the dugout all of my teammates slapped me on the back and helmet and told me that I’d came up clutch for them and the team. I sat down took a deep breath and tried to process what just happened, I had hit a game-tying home run. I said “Wow that felt good.” When I finally decided to look up again, I notice that the guys behind me had hit two doubles in a row, another run! Now we had the lead with the score of two to one. We had derailed the pitcher and the other teams train was coming off the tracks. I look up again and my best friend hits a triple and now we have the lead three to one. I jump of the bench and start cheering and yelling at the opposing pitcher. All the pitcher does in slump down and frown to himself, we had defiantly gotten to him. During this inning we go on to score four more runs to make the score a staggering seven to one in favor of us. In all of the excitement I forget that it’s getting cold and I quickly slip on my long sleeve shirt under my jersey and hustle back out to my position, but before I go there my coach stopped me.
“Nice hit there kid, that’s what we really needed. Now, let’s finish these guys off and win this game right here right now.” Coach slapped me on the back and sent me on my way.
“Thanks and sounds like a plan.” I replied.
After this conversation I hustle back to my position and a take a deep breath, by now it’s cold enough that I can see my breath. I hop up and down like a rabbit to keep warm but as the pitch is about to be thrown I settle into my ready position as I await the ball. The ball wasn’t hit to me in the inning. We earned an easy three outs to end the game. We had won the game, and everyone was yelling in excitement. We quickly shake hands with the other team and rush to heat as we were beginning to lose feeling in our fingers.