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I clapped my hands together,
Stared the pitcher in the eye.
This was it. I thought of all I had been through to get here… I went to Cooperstown, NY fro a big Cooperstown tournament. There were more than 104 teams coming from Canada, Texas, California and Idaho. When we got there we played our first game against the Texas Tornados, we lost 7-3. Then we played the Boston Bulldogs and lost 6-5, an 0-2 start in Cooperstown basically means you’re out of the championship, but we kept fighting. The next day we beat two Pennsylvanian teams and improved to 2-2. Good, but not good enough. We just kept clawing and the last day of normal games we won 1 and lost 1. We were 3-3. Overall for playoffs we were ranked 51st out of 104, so we were in the middle. Our first game we played the 104th ranked team and beat them pretty badly. Then came the 50th ranked team, we squeezed out a 5-4 victory to advance farther. That night we played the 13th ranked Tampa Bay Bat rays. We were total underdogs, 51 vs. 13, do the math. The game was played at 10 o’clock at night and we were exhausted after 3 games in one day. Game time came and I was up. There pitcher was at least 6’4, 250lbs with a full grown beard and throwing pitches up to 85 MPH. He was a freak of nature. I walked up to the plate; my song of choice was blasting out of the speakers.
I felt so puny coming up as this beast stared me down.
The wind was howling in my ears,
The first pitch whizzed by me at amazing speed and I heard the ump holler “STRIKE ONE!!”
I settled in the box.
I was cooler than the other side of the pillow.
He hurled the ball and CRACK!! I knew something was wrong the second I made contact.
I ran to first but was out by a second. Something was wrong. I knew that a pitch that fast hitting my bat would have gone at least to the outfield. I picked up my bat and stared in amazement as there was a giant crack right down the center. I had shattered the bat I used all year and I even named! (Frank Roberto) I was doomed.
In the field I couldn’t think of anything but my bat, which had a huge lightning bolt- like crack right down the center. That inning we gave up 3 runs and we were all bummed out and no one hit. Until the 5th inning. The batter before me got hit by a pitch and stole second. After another past ball he was on third base, and I was up.
I was using my old bat that I had retired last year, so basically, it was an awful bat.
My music came on as I stepped up to the plate.
The pitcher smirked as he knew I was afraid of him.
The cold wind pounded against my Under Armour.
I could smell the fresh aroma of hot dogs being sold just feet from where I was standing.
I looked down at my 3rd base coach. “C’mon kid!” He said. No sign. I had to hit away.
I spun my bat in a circle as I always did with my old bat but this bat didn’t feel the same.
He wound up. His arm was a blur, as was the ball.
He put maximum velocity on this pitch.
I saw the ball fly down the left field line.
I ran as fast as I could.
It barely hit the fair line.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the umps’ signal.
“FAIR!!!” he yelled.
I ran to second.
The runner on 3rd scored. I halted on second as all the fans and my team was cheering. It was that hit that started a rally and helped us to complete one of the biggest upsets in Cooperstown history. After it was all said and done, our overall standing went from 51st, to 5th. We broke several records that week, like “Biggest Overall Standing Change (51st-5th)”, “Most Games Played (15)” and “Highest Seed to Make It to the Elite Eight (51st)”. This moment showed me that I should never doubt myself even in the toughest situations. Also, it’s not size on the outside that matters, but the size some were else, in your heart.