A Hit

December 16, 2010
I stepped up to the plate just like any other old at bat; I did my ritual, undo the straps on my batting gloves and tighten them. I’d dig my cleats into the dirt and tap the plate on all corners in no particular order. Then I would swing my bat around menacingly, and stare right at the pitcher. I just tried to keep looking deeper into his pupils. Why did I do all of this? All the pros did it. Jeter, Arod, and the staring thing was just to seem intimidating. (This was kind of hard wearing a bright purple Diamondbacks, extra small shirt). Out of the corner of my eye I saw all of my team starting to pack up their duffels. They were putting away their bats and gloves and just relaxing. I, on the other hand, was not really relaxed. In fact every time I was closer to being at bat, I got nervous. The first game of the season, I got smacked in the leg with a ball. Not exactly the way a ten year old wants to start his baseball career. Ever since then, I’ve been afraid of getting hit with a pitch. I have gotten hit a couple of times this season, none had actually really hurt, but at age ten kids aren’t very accurate pitchers. It was just that one second when the ball comes screaming at you that would send me into a panic.



In my mind, I was silently praying that I wouldn’t screw up this at bat. It was the last game of the season. Last inning, last out. I was at the plate, just my luck, right? Anyway, I stepped into the batter’s box and got into my hitting stance. The pitcher was some real athletic looking kid. He played for the Athletic Shoe Factory Rangers. Earlier this season they mercied us in 4 innings, 26-3. Luckily we hadn’t let this game get too out of hand. It was only 5-3, advantage rangers. (What a surprise) Our team had won about, uh 2 or 3 games this season. Yet I had the most fun this season than any other, ever.

My dad pulled up at Melville field, # 1. I leaped out of the car and my cleats made a crunching sound on the grass as I jogged onto the field. I brought my shiny new Easton Typhoon bat and Nike batting gloves. What I saw when I got to the field made me want to jump back into the car to safety. It looked like some midget was playing catch with some 12 year old on steroids, who shouldn’t have been in the same league as me. He went into some ludicrous windup and threw a wicked pitch at the poor kid. He tried to raise his glove but missed the ball, and it got lodged into the fence. “Glove up!” some guy shouted. I walked over nervously. “Hi, I’m coach Sankowiz,” he said, and shook my hand. “We’re going to have a lot of fun this season.”







WHOOM! The ball flew right over the plate, “STRIIIIKE ONE!” the umpire shouted. I recognized the voice; I looked over and saw that it was the fat umpire today. I swear that guy held a grudge against my team. It all started one game when Tyler was pitching. He wasn’t exactly accurate. Thank god the umpire was wearing pads. The poor guy limped over to the bathroom. Both teams just sat there, as time wore on. After it seemed like 20 minutes, he hobbled back into the diamond and we resumed the game. It all went smoothly until next game. The 80 year old wonder was back in action. Unfortunately, so was Tyler. He nailed him right in the face this time. The ball almost got stuck in the metal part of his face mask. Once again he made his way to the restroom. What he did in there we have no clue. Personally, I think we’re all better off that way. Somehow, this guy managed to make it through the season, unharmed. Hopefully, he would make fair calls. After all, I’m not the one who hit him. Anyway, I was determined to get a real hit this season. I knew I could, I had hit a home-run at practice once, but during the game is a different story. I hadn’t gotten one out of the infield all season. Now is the time, I thought. The pitcher went into his wind up, and threw a wild pitch straight at my head. I hit the dirt, and the ball skidded all the way back to the backstop. I got up and brushed the dirt off me casually, as if nothing had happened. My mind was screaming, thinking of how close the ball was to my head. Then somehow the matrix popped into my head. I pictured myself slowing down time and dodging pitches. This made me feel a little bit better. This is it, I thought. I’m going to hit this sucker out of the park. I moved close to the plate, a rare occurrence for me, and called “time!” to adjust my batting gloves. All the things that coach said were swimming around in my head. Keep your eye on the ball, and these types of things. Time seemed to stop, as the pitcher threw a pitch over the corner of the plate. I watched as my bat made contact, and the ball sailed over the second basemen’s head, and trickled into the outfield. I sprinted to first, and made the turn just like coach said to do. I was in a daze but i know that the next guy up popped out and we all went back to the dugout for one last de-briefing. I sat on the bench undoing my once new and spotless batting gloves. Coach was talking about how winning and losing didn’t really matter but I really wasn’t listening. I was watching the other team’s dugout. How their coach was analyzing the game. The assistant coach was passing out gleaming trophies. I looked at the kids’ faces and saw they looked bored, some were throwing sun flower seed shells at each other. It struck me that coach was right. Winning or losing didn’t matter. I had won the game, and that hit made me win every single baseball game I have ever played after that at-bat.





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