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Perfect

02/11/2013

Writing prompt given to me, something exciting at age 9.

“Whap!”
The dust floated through the air from the catchers’ mitt as the final warm-up throw was caught.
‘paff, paff’

I punched my glove a few times nervously while I waited for the first of the last 3 batters to walk to the plate.
This was the fifth and final inning for the state championship for age’s 9-10 boys’ baseball. We were the level just below actual little league so we didn’t have a huge country tournament or anything, but a state title game was still pretty exciting.
Our coach was strolling out to the mound to give me a few extra seconds to calm the nerves in my stomach because he knew that I had to be shaking pretty hard.
See, not only was I the main starting pitcher for my team, and not only was I about to have a chance to win the state title, but I also had not allowed any runners yet. That’s right; a perfect game was on the line as well as a title, so my tiny 9 yr old body was almost a gas molecule bouncing around.
“Now just try and stay lose, don’t forget to breath before you pitch and just remember the main thing, win or lose you’re playing a game and you’re supposed to have fun.”
He clapped me on the back, gave me a wink, and walked back to the bench.
I kept a lopsided grin on my face as I turned to the outfield and squinted out at my best friend in center field. We nodded at each other and when I turned back to the plate where the first batter was waiting, my smile was gone.
In its place was a look of determination and maturity that unnerved even my own catcher.
I nodded ascent for my first pitch, reared back and let loose my 41 mph fastball.
“Steee-rikeeee 1!”
My second pitch was my breaker, not a true curve ball, but it had a dip in it and was very hard to hit.
“Steee-rikeeee 2!”
The batter stepped out and looked at his coach, as if to ask for new instructions, finding no answers there, he gazed out at me and only saw my pitcher look.
He stepped back, took a couple practice cuts and signaled his readiness.
For all his trouble, he got my heater again,
“Steee-rikeeee 3! Yer OUT!”
1 down, 2 to go, and I wasn’t even tired or winded. The next batter grounded out to shortstop, and then we were 1 out from perfection and being champions.
I threw as hard as I could out of the exuberance of youth, and he connected on a big fly ball to center.
The ball sailed up so far into the sky, it was almost majestic watching it, and as I saw it begin its journey to the ground, I just lowered my head, and started walking slowly towards the outfield to where my friend stood, camped under our title.

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