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League Of My Own
I stepped up to the plate. I knew the pitcher well; he’d been on my father’s team before, and we would always harass each other at baseball practice, since we played the same positions. He promptly took a pitching position and hurled the ball. It was outside my zone, and the count was oh-and-one.
I stepped out of the box, and took a deep breath. I looked down the third base line, looking at the base coach. He told me to hit away, and I walked back into the chalk-outlined box I’d been standing in since I was nine years old. It was a second home.
Instantly, my bat went back behind my head. I glared at the pitcher, who returned the favor. I nodded that I was ready for him to try and strike me out, and the ball came in.
There it was. Perfect strike, a little high, but that was exactly how I liked it. I had to swing, or else my father would chew me apart when I got home, counseling me on how to tell a strike from a bad pitch.
I heard the small, circular piece of leather hit off the aluminum bat, and I ran for my life. I sprinted, and barely saw where the ball went. I knew it was in the outfield. I saw my teammate score, which made me feel good.
My father high fived me as I touched first, but then yelled for me to “go two”. I did as instructed.
By now, the ball was coming into second. I wasn’t a fast runner, so it didn’t surprise me that I’d only get a double off a decent hit. But, I still didn’t slide; I knew I’d make it.
The second basemen was a kid recognized from school. “Nice hit.” He said, which was very kind. Most opposing players wouldn’t say anything. “Thanks.” I said, and took my lead. I stole third on the next pitch that went behind the catcher.
The third base coach told me that the ball had gone towards the porta-potties. They were WAY out there, in the middle of the outfield.
I took it in for a second. In any park with a fence, it could’ve been a home run.
When I eventually scored, my teammates congratulated me. The game went on, and my team won.
At the end of the game, I was approached by a woman in her late thirties, early forties; typical mother of a twelve year old. I didn’t recognize her, so she was obviously from the other team.
At that moment, I’d been raking the dirt at home plate, helping my dad with the responsibilities following the end of a game.
“When I was younger, I used to play baseball. I was just like you- the only girl in the league. It was amazing to see you hit the ball farther than most boys in this league. It’s truly an accomplishment.” She said. I was shocked, but managed the words, “Oh, thanks!” as she walked away.
I’ll remember the hit for awhile, until something tops that. However, what that woman told me will stay with me forever. To some, it may seem like more words of praise. They meant something to me. Something above my head, something beyond explanation.