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Championship: In Sight

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Running, run faster.  Throwing, throw harder.  Hitting, hit farther.  We were unstoppable.  Almost every day, all spring and summer, we practiced, and we trained.  Undefeated...on the diamond and in our hearts.  Four cities, we beat them all.  Championship, in sight.

Coach Lauretig: the man, the myth, the legend.  He had taken this team through countless seasons, gone through countless losses, yet it had all paid off.  This year his team was the team that was going to win it all.  He pushed the kids to their limits, only resting when he knew they had done what he asked.  He was an inspiration to everyone.  But beyond all this, Coach Lauretig was flexible, and aware.  Without even taking ten minutes, he thought he could pinpoint a player's exact mistake, and fix it immediately.  He had made everyone better, everyone knew it, and in the end, he probably thought so too.  The players on this team were special.  They weren’t like any other team I’ve ever seen.  No one cared about the talent on this team.  There was no good play that went unnoticed.  There was no mistake that wasn’t immediately canceled out by good cheers.  This team was a family; they rose up together, they moved forward together, and if one of them fell, there was no moving on until that teammate was back on his feet. 

12-0.  That was our season record: 12 wins, 0 losses.  We went into the playoffs unstoppable, crushing every team we played before we even stepped on the field.  Our confidence radiated through the air thicker than smoke.  The first game we played the South Euclid Indians--a tough team, but we were tougher.  The second game we played the Mayfield Red Sox.  Mayfield, whom of which is known for baseball, creates a high tension even before game day.  I started that game, I had known what was coming, and I was ready.  Yet although underneath I was extremely nervous, I knew my team was never going to let me down.  They had my back and I had theirs.  We played two innings in that game before it started to pour.  20 minutes of sitting and waiting, for me more than anyone, for I was up to bat when we came back.  I stepped into the box, waiting, knowing all eyes were on me.  As a pitcher, I was used to it, and in that at-bat, it showed.   The pitcher threw a pitch on the low outside corner, right where I like it.  My whole body jolted with excitement as I swung the bat, adrenaline and instincts working together. The ball was out of sight! I had run around all the bases before they got the ball back into the infield!
We ended up winning that game by a lot as well, but we all knew what that meant.  Onto the
CHAMPIONSHIP.

The Mayfield Diamond Backs were an amazing team, but we were more prepared for than this forever, for it was the only thing we had worked for all season.  The first game Charlie Lauretig pitched, and he pitched the worst game of his life, giving up 7 runs.  That was the only time I’ve ever seen my team doubt one another, and for that reason, we lost game one of the three-game playoffs.  The second game, I pitched and I gave up only four runs, which gave us a solid lead of  10-4.  Then Andy, who is arguably our best pitcher, came into a close, and did great only giving up 2 runs, until Grant came up.  Grant was a very skilled catcher on the other team, and when he stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded we all had the same thought in our mind.  If he hits a grand slam, , the game will be tied.  Andy threw him a beautiful pitch, and Grant grabbed the ball at the end of his bat, and the ball was gone!  10-10 the game was tied when we went into extra innings.  We managed to gain two more runs, and Andy pitched out the game, solidifying a game three, with the series tied 1-1!

Win, win, win.  All we could think to do.  All we thought we could do.  All we knew we had to do.  We came into the game ablaze and after two innings, we were up 3-1, and Charlie had smashed a home run.  Then the other team had two of the most amazing innings our team has seen.  Great hit after great hit and our defense was doing all we could with little effect.  We came out of those two innings with the score 3-6 DiamondBacks.  Our team fought tirelessly for three more innings, but by the end of the game, we had lost the title we had been hunting for all season.  The championship came into our sights, and all we could think to do was shoot it down and make it ours, so when we lost, we couldn’t think.  It took me almost a week to recover, and I’ve heard the same from my teammates.  Yet, after that week, we realized we were closer than ever, because not only had we gone through the best together, but the worst as well.  People rarely truly consider their team a family, and it takes a joint effort from everyone to make it one.  After the 2016 summer season of baseball, the team I played for, was not only considered a family to the ones on the team, but to everyone who we faced, and to everyone who watched, knew it too.






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