First Taste | Teen Ink

First Taste

October 7, 2013
By Anonymous

I had barely turned fifteen, but I was in what seemed to be a grown man’s game at the time. I peered over the bus seat to look over the rest of the team. I was the youngest player by two years. The rest of the players had started to grow facial hair and were not strangers to the weight room by any means. I had never picked up a razor in my life. I wasn’t the shortest on the team but I definitely stood out as the lone freshman on the varsity baseball team. I had not been playing with them for the entire season and this week the coaches apparently thought I was good enough to get pulled up for the rest of the regular season and postseason. It was about mid-way through district so there wasn’t much regular season left for me to play because I knew for a fact I wouldn’t see the field during playoffs. I may travel with the team but the chances of playing were slim to none and I was perfectly fine with that. We didn’t have a long drive ahead of us, only about thirty minutes, so I just sat in my isle seat, put in my headphones, and didn’t say anything the entire bus ride.

When we arrived both teams hit on the field and started warming up about an hour before game time. I hit on the field well, but when it came to warming up my nerves got the best of me. I over threw my partner four times, and there’s nothing worse than standing there waiting on your partner to get a ball that was just thrown ten feet over his head. Eventually it was game time, the first pitch was thrown, and I had a front row seat in the dugout. It reached the fourth inning and I was still in the same spot from when the game started. I was currently refilling on sunflower seed when the head coach told me to start warming up. Warm up? Did he think I was someone else? Everyone’s eyes were on me as I grabbed my glove and trotted down to the bullpen with the starting catcher. I did my routine that I do every time before I pitch every game which consisted of various drills. One drill was I grabbed a rubber band, tied it to the fence, and stretched out my elbow. Then I began to throw of the mound at 70 percent. Once I felt comfortable with them I returned to the dugout to be told that I was going to the mound next inning.

Saying that I had butterflies in my stomach wouldn’t begin to describe how I felt. Nevertheless I made my way to the mound. My very first batter I walked in four straight pitches. The next batter I ran the count to three balls and two strikes. The catcher gave me the sign and I hurled the ball towards the plate. Swing and a miss. My very first varsity strikeout came in my very first varsity game. I got out of the inning with no damage done. I had entered in the sixth inning, and it was now the bottom of the seventh with my team up by one. I didn’t cross my mind that I would go out again to close out the game, but I did. I got the first batter out and walked the second. The next batter up had the count at one and one. I threw a curveball low and inside and he turned his bat into a driver that Tiger Woods would have been jealous of. When that ball left the park it was still going up. Game over, I gave my international sign of “I messed up” which was lick my two fingers, wipe them on my pants, and then one solid pound of my glove.

We had a team meeting after the game and to my relief our coach told us that the game we had just played was a scrimmage and the man that just blasted the ball to the moon off of me would be drafted in the first round later that year. This came as relief but I had still blown a game scrimmage or not. I encountered a lot of joking for the next couple of weeks and it basically became a daily routine. I didn’t mind it too much, I was still young and had a lot to learn.

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