THUMP! The ball was hit into deep left, and it had some distance to it. The infield stared as the ball made contact with the bat and rocketed over their heads. They probably should have covered their base or gone out and get the ball from the outfield but they knew that it was all or nothing. The outfield would determine the fate of the game. The left fielder ran and ran. Finally, the ball came down from space and into the Blake Lindsly’s sure handed glove. Out number two. He looked at the pitcher with an expression that said dodged a bullet there. The team erupted into laughter. Even the coach joined in.
Sure, the game was intense, but baseball was a fun game and it took plays like that to have fun. There was a runner on third but he wasn’t going anywhere. The pitcher let the ball go and… WHOOSH. Strike one. The batter misses the ball by a nanometer. Still, the pitcher and the batter went to battle until the count was 3 balls and 2 strikes. This was it. The infielders were primed for action. The pitcher began his motion and threw the ball that would change the fate of the game… It was a perfect summer day. The sky was blue and there was not a cloud to be seen. I went outside and sat there for a while, soaking up all the sun rays.
It was not long when i was interrupted with someone yelling my name. It was Matthew Roling, yelling at me from his Mom’s car. “Come down to my house! ” he yelled. I chuckled to myself and hopped on my bike and went down the street to his house. We hung out for a while at his house, then decided it was hot so we went down to Westbrook and took a trail to the train bridge, a part of the creek that was deep enough. More people were with us as we started to go. It was Tucker Kinney, Matt Roling, Ethan McAleer, Nolan Haack, and Zach Hinkle. I was the first one to dive in and let the cool water refresh me.
We swam and swam until it was time for us to go home. All of us, except Tucker, had a big game that night. I got home and saw that my dad was already ready with his DeWitt Dragons hat on. He looked at me and asked, “Where were you”! Surprised by his anxiousness and urgency, I replied, “I was swimming at the train bridge”. His eyes got wide. “Did you forget that we’re playing North Scott”! I cooled down. I actually thought that i was in real trouble. “Yes, Dad, I remember” “Why did to come home so late! ” “Dad, the game isn’t for another two hours”. He glanced above and saw that it was 2:30 and the game was at 5:30.
He looked back and said, “Oh”. I just laughed. I knew how much this game meant. North Scott Lancers was our rivals. They ere the anti-Dragons and we were the anti-Lancer. Every time we have played them the games have been super intense but they have always managed to beat us by a run every single time. The rivalry could be compared to the rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. I went downstairs, took a nap, put my uniform on, and hopped in the car with ever-soanxious Dad and went to the game. I got to the game and already felt like we had it this time. Everybody from the team was there at the field.
If you looked at our team you might think that we were just a bunch of small town screw-offs. We definitely gave the other team that impression as we warmed up. Our team didn’t take things too seriously. In the batting cages, we practiced our home run swings, and trots. The infielders, including me, bare handed the ground balls hit to us by one of the coaches, and jump threw the ball back to the first baseman pretending we were young Derek Jeters. The outfield dove at every ball that was hit at them. Even if the ball was coming straight at them, they ran back and come forward again so they could dive and get the ball.
Yes, we were a bunch of goofballs. When we got done with our warm-ups we came back into the dugout. Coach had the lineup in his hands. He posted it on the fence. I was batting fifth today and playing third. The Umpires blew there whilst and the game started. The first guy up to bat was Nolan. He waited for the ball and… Thwack! He hit a liner into the outfield, but North Scott was ready. The centerfielder came in and caught the ball with ease. The next guy up to bat was Alex. He was tall and had power when he swung. He did not. Three strikes went right passed him. Next up was Caleb.
He suffered the same fate as Alex. Now it was their turn to bat. Luke Anderson was at first, Matt Roling at second, Nolan was playing short, I was at third. Playing outfield in left was Blake Lindsly, Zach Hinkle in center, and Evan Wisco stood in right. On the mound was our ace, Alex McAleer and he was throwing to the catcher, Caleb Banowetz. The first was out just as fast as he came up. Alex jammed the first batter on the first pitch, and the batter sent a easy ground ball back to Alex for out number one. Alex struck out the next two, and just like that we were back to bat.
Alex pitched for six innings straight, with a few hits given up on both sides but no one scored. Alex was gassed and was struggling to throw strikes. Coach saw this and called time and brought in Caleb. I was moved to catcher and Alex moved to third. We all applauded him. He had pitched a gem. Caleb did his job and allowed only one hit that inning. North Scott did the same. Finally, it was the 12 inning, and the score was 0-0. No one could on both sides of the field could string a couple of hit together to save their lives. We were up to bat and we had the the heart of the order with 2-3-4-5 batters up. Alex went up to the plate.
He did not have to swing a single time, because the pitcher, clearly tried, pitched four balls that were nowhere near the strike zone. He walked down to first with ease. Caleb smack a single on the first pitch, and our dugout erupted. Everyone had their rally caps on and were right on the fence. Caleb was on second and Alex on first. Luke Anderson walked up to the plate with zero outs. He swung out of his shoes on the very first pitch and sent a fly ball into center. The ball was hit hard and gave Alex a chance to tag up and advance to third but Caleb did not follow. It was first and third and I was coming up to bat.
I dug my right foot into the back of the batter’s box and got set, awaiting the ball. The pitcher got the sign and started his motion. He let the ball go. I saw it come straight out of his. The ball seemed to slow down, almost to the point to where I could see the stitching on the ball. I swung the bat with all my might and heard a thump. I looked up to see the ball sailing into the left center gap. I dropped the bat as alex took off as he saw the ball hit the ground. I slid into second and looked up to see our dugout going crazy, jumping and yelling up on the fence. We scored! I let out a whoop.
The next two batters were stricken out to retire sides. All we had to do is to get three outs and we would be our hated rivals. We were in great position to do exactly that with our ace, Caleb Banowetz on the mound. The batter moseyed up to the plate with fake swagger. He swung at the fences on the first pitch and hit a lazy pop up to the pitcher for an easy out number one. The next batter that came up knew the situation at hand. He was a good hitter too, hitting two singles in the earlier innings of the baseball game. He came up to the plate.
Caleb got the sign and started his pitching motion. He let the ball fly out of his hand and… THUNK! The ball was smashed into the left center gap. Our team sprang into action. Both Blake and Zach flew to get the ball in. Zach got there first and fired the ball to the cut off, Nolan. Nolan then threw a BB at Alex, who was at third baseball. It was close, but the runner had just gotten underneath the tag and was called safe. We felt defeated. There was only one out and a runner on third. Surely they would score and take the lead back. The coach called a timeout and told us to bring it in. We sulked up to the mound where he was. He looked at us and smiled! In th heat of the game he was smiling.
Caleb asked, “Why you smiling, Coach? ” “Because, Caleb, the other team doesn’t know there about to lose”. With that, Coach ran back to the dugout. Revived, we sprinted back to our positions. We were ready. We were going to win us a game! With a new sense of confidence, the pitcher stared into the batter’s eyes and sent him a mental message, telling him that he was his. The batter immediately saw this and balked. The batter was fazed. Caleb saw this and smirked in his mind. Caleb started his motion, coiled up and threw the ball as hard as he could. The batter swung and sent the ball sailing into left field. Blake ran and ran and ran.
Finally, the ball came out of orbit into Blake’s sure handed glove. Out number two. Blake sent back a priceless expression that summed up the entire game. “Dodged a bullet there” he yelled to us. The entire team erupted with laughter. Even Coach joined in. It took a light-hearted phrase like that to lighten the mood in such an intense game. Baseball was meant to be played for fun, not just to win. Caleb got back on the mound and resumed where he left off. The laughter that he had just joined in on was wiped off his face and replaced by intense concentration. He gave the batter looks of mixed rage, concentration, and intensity.
The batter saw the determination in Caleb’s eyes and met it with his own nasty stare. Nobody was going to back down. Caleb stared his motion and went to work. The batter coiled up and swung. “Foul Ball! ” yelled the umpire. He must of velled that a thousand times because the batter kept fouling them off. Finally, the count was 3 balls and 2 strikes, a full count. There was a runner in third, but he wasn’t going anywhere. An eerie feel set in among both teams, as we knew this was it. The next pitch was the one that would decide the fate of the game. Caleb got the signs form the catcher. He nodded, and started his motion.
He let the ball go as it singed though the air towards the batter, who was awaiting its arrival. The batter swung with his might and… WHOOSH! “Strrrike three! “. We erupted. We threw our gloves into the air and rushed the mound. We finally did it! Our team had finally beaten the undefeatable North Scott Lancers! We finally gathered ourselves and shook hands with the Lancers. calmed downed, Coach gave us a few words about how we played with all of our hearts and deserved this fantastic win. He dismissed us and we bounded to our families. This game was one to remember for the rest of our lives.