Like a scene out of the story books, I watched the game unfold. The teams had been battling neck and neck throughout the entire game, exchanging lead positions alternatively throughout the afternoon. Picture the following scene in your mind. The score was now tied and the game went into “sudden death overtime.” If you are unfamiliar with this scenario; two outs are placed on the board, the player who last got out in the previous inning is placed upon 2nd base as a runner, and the succeeding batter steps to the plate.
Having first “at bats,” the guest team scores two points before getting “out,” and going back out to the field to defend their current lead. The home team places their runner into position, and pitches begin to rain from the mound. The first batter is walked, thus placing potentially tying runs on base.
The pitch is thrown, and the ball sneaks beyond the catcher as both base runners advance to 2nd and 3rd base accordingly. As I look to the plate, there stands a young batter; his team down by two, the game tying runs poised and in position, two outs, and the weight of his world resting squarely upon his little shoulders. As he steps again to the batter’s box and the pitch streams towards the plate, he steps and swings, and the ball comes to rest in the catcher’s glove!
Two more balls are thrown, and then another swing; this time producing a foul ball for strike two. With the count now full, the pressures of the burden squeeze tears from the young batters eyes, as he once again steps to the plate to face one of the fastest pitchers in the young league.
As the pitcher winds up, the scene is absolutely silent! Only the sound of the ball through the air can be heard. The young batter hurls the bat in opposition of the oncoming ball and swings a titan like blow with all the might his little heart can muster. Whaaaaaack!
The silence is shattered as the untouched ball collides into the palm of the catcher’s glove for strike three. Every player, coach, and spectator from both teams erupted with cheers of celebration and pride! This was the first time that this young little hero of a batter had gathered the gumption to stand in the box and swing at three pitches, and he did it against unsurmountable odds! Everyone cheered for both teams, for a victory was well earned on both sides of the plate that evening!
With the season at a close, I want to thank all the coaches, particularly those who took the time to help my young son this season. Not only did you help improve his talents, and give him some unforgettable memories; you taught principles on and off the field. Thanks for all the time you put in, all the post-game team meetings, the MVP awards, practices in the rain, and a great season. Focus, hustle, and teamwork; well played coach!