The day of the first game, our team was ready to play. It wasn’t the best day. It was one of those dull, grey light days, where all you want to do is stay in bed and sleep. It also was fairly cold. Some kids were wearing long sleeve shirts. Jacob Hayward pitched to start the game, and I played shortstop.
Warm ups started at 1:30, but the game did not start until 2:15. Boy, can opposite teams’ coaches argue about the dumbest things before the game!
“Your pitcher threw 25 pitches last game,” my coach says very calmly.
The other coach says angrily, his face redder than a tomato. “No, he threw 24!”
“25!” my coach repeated, looking embarrassed that they made a huge scene.
“24!” the other coach boomed like a protective lion, defending its cubs. Just the excitement and drama of the game I guess!
Finally, the game started. Jacob Hayward did a great job in the first three innings, only letting the other team score two runs. But we scored five runs. I hit a single, and another single. So I was two for two. I was up twice and got a hit both times. It got to the top of the sixth inning; their last at-bats. The score was still 5 for Medford, 2 for Malden. Then, the Malden batter hit a rocket between the center and left fielder, and he was running to second when the left fielder finally got the ball. He threw it to me, and the runner was not at second base yet! I ran as fast as I could, to try to tag the runner out, but he ran back toward first base, I threw it to the first baseman, but he dropped the ball! The runner slid into first base. He was safe by a mile. The next pitch was a ground ball to the second baseman. I felt like I had a giant, heavy, boulder, resting on my shoulders. I could make a great play, but I could also mess everything up. Oh god, I thought, I always cave under pressure! The second baseman fielded the ball, tossed it to me who was covering second base. I caught it, tagged second base, jumped over the runner who was trying to take my ankles out, and threw it to first. “Out!” said the first ump.
“Out the other ump screamed in a high pitched voice. A double play! Now we were one out away from playing in the championship. I got lucky there, I thought. The next batter hit a high line drive that was sailing over my head. I had a very slim chance of catching that ball. I timed my jump, leaped like a kangaroo, and felt the hard ball fall into my glove. “Out!” the ump yelled. That was the end of the game. We are moving on to the championship!
It was the nicest game I had ever played in. the weather was 85 degrees, but it felt like 180. The game was in Framingham, but we were playing Weston, and I was pitching. Darn, I thought, another pressure situation. I pitched a bad first inning. My first pitch of the game was a ground ball right to the second baseman. But it went right through his legs! He looked as embarrassed as if his pants had just fallen down in front of the whole crowd. The next pitch was one of my best pitches, my curveball. Right when I threw the pitch I knew I shouldn’t have. I was desperately hoping that he would miss it, but he was their best hitter. CLANG! Was the sound when the bat hit the ball. The ball was sailing deeper and deeper, I hoped that the ball would hit the wall, but I knew it wouldn’t when it sailed right over the wall. A home run! Oh no, two pitches, two runs. At that point I didn’t even want to be on the mound anymore. The kid’s dad went bananas like he just won the lottery. He started criticizing our team. “looks like this one is already over,” he said. I saw my brother sneak him a mean look. I smiled. My brother knew this game was far from over.