I’ve been playing softball since I was six years old. It is my favorite sport out of all three that I play. My mom played softball in high school, so I looked forward to the day I’d get to play varsity softball. Playing softball all those years paid off because I played varsity softball my sophomore year.
Last spring on a cold, cloud-covered, and windy day, the Pilots battled the Wayne Trace Raiders in an interesting softball game. My school doesn’t usually beat Wayne Trace. They usually blow us out. Everyone who came to the game could smell the freshness of the wet grass after the rain. Varsity went out to their home field and played defense, while the Raiders were first up to bat. The umpire hollered, “Strike 1,” again, “Strike 2,” and for a third time, “Strike 3” on the first batter. The next batter approached the plate, and on the first pitch, smack, she hit the ball in between our pitcher and shortstop into the outfield for a single. Then the third batter readied herself at the plate to hit, and the umpire roared, “Strike 1,” again, “Strike 2,” and for a third time, “Strike 3.”
The Wayne Trace third base coach signaled for the girl who hit the single to steal second. As the next batter took her stance in the batter’s box, our Pilot pitcher pitched the next ball. Sliding into second base, the umpire crossed his arms out into a T to indicate that the Wayne Trace girl happened to be safe. The batter next in line came and watched balls go by, and she saw one and hit it to the third baseman. The Pilot third baseman swiftly grounded the ball and whipped it to first base for the last out.
We ran to the dugout, and the cold wind numbed our gloveless hands. It was our turn to bat. The numbness of our hands made it hurt to hit the round, bright, yellow ball with the long, colorful bat. Though our hands were numb, that didn’t stop us from hitting the ball against the bat, making the sweet cracking sound like stepping on a peanut. In the first inning, the first three batters went up to the dirty white plate with confidence. With that confidence, they all went up and hit the first pitch right down the middle and all popped out in the outfield as the Raider outfielders lunged to catch them. The first inning ended quickly. The next two innings for both teams were like déjà vu: three up and three down all over again. It seemed as if nothing was going to happen. After a few innings of nothing happening, something gave us a spark, and we started to hit like crazy. In the fourth inning when Wayne Trace came up to hit, it was a three up three down inning again.
Currently up to bat, we started with two quick outs. The next batter was walked. As the fourth batter entered the batter's box, the umpire claimed that she had one ball and two strikes. When she went to get back in the box for the next pitch, the umpire restated the count. The girl looked at him in confusion, and she mentioned that the count should be two balls and one strike. Then, the fifth batter of the inning came up and fouled off imperfect pitches to find the right one. She definitely found the right pitch for her, as she creamed the pitch right over the gray, chain-linked fence and dented the score board. When the ball hit the scoreboard, it sounded so loud that it shook the metal stands where the audience sat. With her big hit, we all met her at home plate, screaming her name, seeing her smile as a flood light as she stepped on each and every base to get home along with another teammate ahead of her. As she rounded third base as excited as we, our coach gave her a high five and a smile. When she arrived at home plate, she lowered her head, and we all screamed with excitement and smacked her black helmet. The batter after her popped the ball up to shortstop, which ended our hitting and that inning with the score being 2-0.
In the fifth inning, it was again another three up three down for both teams. For the other team, it had been a quick inning of nothing happening. With another chance to extend the lead with one runner on base and one out, the same girl as before went up to the chalked up batter’s box and once again smoked one right over the fence, 200 feet away. A couple of the batters hit grounders to the pitcher and the second baseman, and they were thrown out at first. The score read 4-0. In the seventh inning, a war ensued. The whole game changed. Their team ended up rallying and started to hit the ball into every hole on the field. They hit double after double, and a dropped pop fly to the curly blonde-haired left fielder. The score became 4-4 in just one inning; our last chance to win or keep the tie on the game. We came out hitting as if they never scored. Their scoring did not change how we played. We were at the bottom of our line up. The first batter hit a double to right field, almost blasting it over the fence. As the next batter came up to bat, she hit the ball right back to the pitcher in the round sandy circle. The ball went right underneath the black stitched glove, making her safe at first. The third batter went down swinging, but the catcher dropped the ball. So the batter ran to first base. The Wayne Trace catcher did not attempt to throw her out at first in fear of the girl on third in scoring position. Bases were loaded with the top of the line up on deck. We needed one big hit. The batter who hit pop flies every at bat had finally hit a solid fast line drive out to the green muddy grass. With that hit, the girl on third base ran to home plate to score the winning run. The final score was 5-4 in our favor.
The whole team ran up to the plate to say, “Good game” to the visitors. After we shook hands, we jumped, skipped, hopped to right field to talk about the game. Our faces were red from screaming and yelling, and we had huge smiles because we had won an important game, a league game that we needed to win.