The Hitting Zone

Chapter 1044 V3 Ch278 VS Evergreen (2)

Chapter 1044 V3 Ch278 VS Evergreen (2)

Brian really did take care of business on the mound. Him and Scott worked well. I think. Or maybe Brian was just that much better than JV players? It probably helped that they had spoken and made a game plan. They got the cleanup hitter to swing late, hitting a grounder down the line to Sean. He scooped it up and beat out the batter to the bag for the first out. Batter five became strikeout victim number three. Batter six made the best contact, hitting a line drive...right to Bryce though. We jogged it back to the dugout. 

I switched into my batting gear and headed for the exit. Mr. Miller stopped me by resting his hand on top of my helmet. "Start us off strong, kid. Don't fool around."

I nodded obediently and left the dugout. My practice swings were casual as I studied the pitcher. He had a the basics down but nothing to make him special. The umpire let him throw a few more practice pitches before waving me up to the batter's box. Mr. Miller said not to mess around. I knew it meant not to foul off a bunch of pitches. Attack early and get on base. 

The first pitch just happened to be a good one. He probably wanted to get ahead on the count, but too bad for him, I wasn't watching. I swung and connected, sending it to the gap in left-center. I dropped the bat and took off. I tagged first and rounded to second. On the way to second, I had a clear view of the center fielder getting the ball. I eased up and stopped at second, happy that there was no need to slide. 

"Good hit!"

"Great job!"

"Nice one!"

Our little dugout shared some least until I heard Noah. 

"You could have done one more!" He hollered out, heavily implying that I could have gotten to third. 

I wish I had the courage to yell back and ask him how many bases he got. That would shut him down. Instead I simply waved and got set for Korrey's at bat. I had to be careful here. I had to tag up if it's a fly out. And be ready to run if it's on the ground, but do my best to not get tagged out.

Korrey seemed to want to try to hit it beyond the outfield just like the previous three before me. I watched the ball fly to center and went back to second base. The center fielder had plenty of time to get under it. As soon as he made the catch, I took off for third, eyes on Coach Jay beyond the base. Coach Jay signaled for no slide and I stopped to stand on the base, turning to watch the ball get back to the infield and then back to the pitcher. 

"Good run." Coach Jay told me. "Be ready to go on a grounder and watch for another tag up opportunity."

I nodded. I took a small lead, trying to calm my heart rate down despite the pitcher being able to look right at me. He stepped off the rubber to do a check throw and I stepped back to the bag. No need to slide when I'm still so close. The guy didn't throw the ball over. He got set and I took my lead off the bag again. The pitcher turned his focus on Brandon, the freshman playing right field. He dealt with him easily, getting him to go down swinging. Miguel, the freshman for third base, had better luck, sneaking a single up the middle. I tagged home, scoring the first run of the game. 

"Good hit." Mr. Miller told me on my way in the dugout. "Don't take Noah's shit. You aren't him."

I smiled. "Yea. I know." I went to my bag and took off my helmet. I glanced at Noah. 

Noah had just finished yelling and clapping for the freshman's RBI. He plopped back down and smiled at me. "Look at you, playing it safe."

"I scored a run." I gloated. "Remind me what you did?"

"I'll get one next time." Noah rolled his eyes. 

Scott, the freshman catcher, struck out real quick to end the inning. We switched sides and Brian went back out on the mound. Top of the third, bottom of the lineup. Groundout to first. A groundout to me. And a strikeout. Three up, three down. And we were back on offense with Brian up first. 

Brian started us off right unlike the other four guys. He singled to right, bringing up Noah. Noah didn't aim for the sky this time, but he also didn't lay a bunt. He got a good piece of a high fastball and hit a single to center. Sean moved to the batter's box, Bryce to the on deck circle, and I stood in the hole, eager that the guys were serious now. 

Sean made contact, ripping a hard grounder to the left. The shortstop made a diving stop. From his knees, he decided to throw to third despite Brian having a good jump off of second. The throw was bad and went past the third baseman. Bases loaded after an error. Still no outs. 

With the dugout full of freshmen, they didn't make as much noise as Noah alone would have, but they still cheered. I clapped too as I headed for the on deck circle. "You've got this Bryce."

Bryce crushed the first pitch to left-center just like my own double. He matched it but added two RBIs, pushing the score to 3-0. I slapped hands with Brian and Noah after they tagged the plate. 

"See. Told you I could do it too." Noah had time to say to me as the Evergreen High School team got together for a mound meeting. 

It was a short gathering that didn't involve their coach or a pitching change. Either way, it would have been fine. The meeting broke up and I was called to the batter's box. I switched to be a lefty and pulled the first pitch to right-center field, getting two RBIs of my own as Sean and Bryce scored. I had to slide into second base this time though, but I thought I did it fairly well. 

"Great job!"

"Nice hit!"

A few compliments could be heard from our dugout. We had a 5-0 lead now. Very solid. I wouldn't care if the others wanted to aim for the fences now. Which is exactly what Korrey tried to do. Again. And again it was a fly out to center. And again I was able to tag up and reach third. I was back in the same position as before; On third with one out. This time around Brandon made contact, hitting a grounder. I sprinted home and Miguel signaled no slide. 6-0. Brandon and I went back to the dugout with matching smiles. 

"That'll be it for you, I think." Mr. Miller told me with a smile. 

I paused in my return, dropping my shoulders. "Really? Already?" It was only the third inning. 

Mr. Miller patted me on the shoulder. "You did your job and gave us a good lead. Now let some of the others get to experience this level."

"Okay." I sighed. It was a light day of work for me. I barely felt warmed up. 

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