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Dream Team

There are two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning with the bases loaded and two strikes on the batter in the biggest game of the season, this being the section final. This all started eight weeks ago when baseball season started. Our team looked little and weak, so we didn’t think that we would even come close to winning a game. When we started the season, though, we saw that we wouldn’t do too badly. We only had eleven people on the team, but we were all hitting the ball well and throwing hard.
We practiced hard for what seemed like a hundred years, but when it finally came time to game day; it looked like we hadn’t even had one practice. I, being one of three sophomores, and only one of four returning starters, was the biggest one on the team. I only stand about six feet tall and am not really that big. I had no idea where anyone on the team (me included), would be playing. So it was a huge surprise to me that the coach put me on one of the more important positions, third base.
When the first game approached, the coach warned us that once we got into games, there was no going back, when we started playing, we would have a minimum of three games per week. Sometimes in a week, we would have six games for five school days.
It was time and we were all suited up; ready to take infield/outfield before the first game of the season. But to tell you the truth, after the first infield/outfield, we looked horrible. We were the home team, so we obviously started off in the field. Our ace pitcher, Tom, was starting for us. He takes his warm up pitches and is looking very, very good. The first batter steps up and hits a line drive straight up the middle, hitting Tom right in the glove, making it one out. I will have to say, that second it looked like we were going to lose our best overall player, but we got lucky. The second batter got up, and Tom stared him down and threw three straight fastballs, striking him out. Two down. Then the third batter got up, and he was by far Nevis’ best all around player. Knowing this, Tom threw to the corners. He got the batter to hit a little dribbler to me, and when all is said and done, I don’t mean to brag, but I got him out by at least four strides.
It was our turn to hit; and our leadoff batter hit a double, starting us off good. When our second hitter got up, he bunted, moving Tom over to third. Here is Tom, standing on third, and our third batter was up. He stares down the pitcher, trying to intimidate him, and I actually think that it worked. He threw a slow, sweeping curveball that our number three hitter, Joe, put over the left field fence for a home run. This is pretty much how all of our games went, until that fateful night in Hill City.
It started off like a normal game, Tom pitching and me playing third. We got to hit first, and let’s just say that we looked foolish trying to hit off of the new kid that just moved to Hill City. We go out into the field, and low and behold, Tom strikes out the first two batters. The number three hitter stepped up, being the kid we didn’t know, and hits the first pitch a line drive right up the middle. This time though, Tom didn’t have enough time to get his glove in front of it. The ball hit his right knee HARD; and he immediately went down. The ball bounced over to me and I made the play, but we were all worried about Tom. I ask him if he is all right, and he just looks at me like I am crazy. The on-hand medic comes out and examines his knee, and she says he needs to go the Emergency Room, ASAP.
We finished that fateful game, winning for Tom, but we found out later that he had shattered almost every bone in and around his knee. We vowed at the beginning of the season that we would play hard, no matter what, so we just had to play through it. We won every game after that, up until the section final game against our arch-rival Deer River. It was a close game all around, and we were the only team of the two of us that scored a run. It was one to zero when we got to the seventh inning.
When we got to the seventh inning, we were ahead by one run. Our pitcher started to get tired, so the coach put in our second string pitcher. He got two of the three outs we needed, and it looked like he was going to get the third, with two strikes on him already. The batter obviously thought otherwise. He hit a stinger to me, playing third base. It looked like it was going to go right down the third base line, giving the batter a single, but we needed this out, so I laid out for the ball. I heard a “klunk!” and looked in my glove only to find that the ball was nestled in there like it was meant to be. I stood up, zoned in on the first baseman and threw him out, ending the game. Since we won that game, we would move on to the state tournament, and let me tell you we were by far the underdog. We ended up making it to the semi-final game at Target Field, and losing to a very over matched opponent.
That season is long gone and in the history books as one of the best seasons that the school has ever had. Tom healed up well, but was never the same physically. We always told him that that season was for him, but he never believed us. I went on to play the next two years for NHS, but it was never really the same as that year. I think that everyone on that team will remember that year, because I know I will.





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