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Circus At Second Base
Sitting at the dusty, metal dugout bench, I gulped down a mouthful of my nearly frozen water from my large, red and white water jug. Leaping to my feet, I slapped on my dark blue New York Yankees baseball cap. I was ready for the fourth inning of the game against another team of eleven and twelve-year-old girls, the White Sox. I dashed to my spot halfway in between first and second base, mentally leaping for joy that I wasn’t going to be in center field for the forth time this game.
Thunk! The yellow softball that we used to practice landed in the pocket of my leather softball mitt. I slung the ball back to the girl playing first base, Katie, known to us as K.D. I watched as K.D. tossed a grounder to Kristine, the shortstop. As she again received the ball, she threw a popup to my friend, Elizabeth, known as E.T., who was playing third base.
K.D. tossed a popup to me. I caught it for once!
“Balls in!” the umpire shouted.
I tossed in the ball and charged towards second base until I was about three feet away from the base, ready to back up Kristine if I was needed on the practice throw from the catcher to the shortstop.
I hurried back to my position. Scuffing my black and white softball cleat in the parched dirt, I traced a circle around me, and waited for the inning to begin.
“Batter up!” the umpire hollered.
Suddenly, the cloud that had concealed the sun split, forcing me to stare at the sun as bright as a lemon in color. I flipped down my clip-on sunglasses to shield my eyes from the blinding sunlight.
I readied myself for play; knees bent, feet shoulder’s length apart, and brown, leather softball mitt lowered near the ground, ready to either scoop up the ball or catch a popup if its course was directed towards me.
Erin, the coach’s daughter, was the pitcher this inning.
She pitched the ball once…. Too high!
She pitched the ball again. … It hit the ground!
I held my breath. Erin was a very good pitcher, but she had a very difficult time pitching to left-handed batters.
She pitched the ball once again………
Thud! The softball crashed into the batters elbow. She collapsed to the ground in pain landing in the middle of home base.
“Ow!” she sobbed, overly dramatic.
“Are you alright Caitlyn?” the coach cried.
The girl nodded and staggered to her feet.
“Take your base!” the umpire hollered in his annoying, husky voice.
“Okay… So first base is taken…….I have to be ready to cover second base, or first if a girl bunts. There might even be a double play!” I planned excitedly.
A sudden breeze kicked up, picking up dirt and whirling around, like someone was tossing it in my eyes. Dust danced around me, swirling around, squeezing through squinting eyelids, making my nose itch.
For the first couple of pitches, I could only hear the umpire’s judgment calls, but I could not see the actual pitches.
When my eyesight cleared, Erin had just released the ball.
Thwack! The batter’s bat slammed into the ball, and the 12 inch ball soared through the air. The red bat was a bright light bulb in the shining sun.
The ball seemed to fly through the air in slow motion. It was on the far side of second base, which meant I had to go cover second so that Kristine could chase after the ball.
I raced to the base, turned towards Kristine, and raised my glove to chest level, ready for the play.
Kristine had the ball in her mitt, but she just continued to stand there.
“Kristine!” I whispered.
She turned towards me. Her face showed that she could not decide whether to run to the base or toss the ball to me. The ball tumbled from her glove onto the ground.
“Kristine!” I repeated.
The ball was rolling away from her, but it was still closer to her than it was to me.
My stomach tied itself up in knots, and a thousand butterflies fluttered around inside. My head was pounding.
The runner was only ten feet away. Now she was nine feet away. Now there was only an eight foot span between the runner and me.
Kristine had still not budged. Glancing from the runner to Kristine, I saw that I would have to complete the play myself.
I lunged for the ball, making sure to leave one foot on the corner of the base.
The runner was only three feet away. Now she was only two feet away.
I groped for the ball, but it bounced off of the tips of my reaching fingers.
“Who care’s if I get dirty? I certainly don’t! I can do this!” I thought defiantly.
I threw myself face first on the ground. Once again I reached for the ball.
I managed to get my mitt over the softball and pick it up.
Just then, I felt a jolt of pain run up my leg. The runner had just kicked me on the knee cap. The blonde haired girl tripped over me and tumbled on top of me.
“Oof!” I grunted. The weight of the girl had knocked every ounce of breath out of my lungs.
Somehow, the girl managed to somersault over the base and me. I heard Kristine grunt. Turning my head to look her direction, I saw Kristine, who was a tiny girl with a small build, squashed onto the ground. Only her dark brown ponytail emerged from beneath the girl. Kristine was a pancake flattened on the dust.
“Out!” cried the umpire.
Bewildered, I stumbled to my feet. “How can she be out? I didn’t even have the ball…….” I pondered.
Looking down at my mitt, I remembered that I had gotten the ball. I had forgotten that in the excitement.
Proudly, I tossed the ball back to Erin and skipped back to my position.
The next two outs were simple. The second out was a popup that came straight to me. The third out was a strike-out.
At the third out, I shuffled out to my seat at the dug-out, panting from heat and thirst. Perspiration dripped down my face.
Sitting down, I traded my leather mitt for black and white, leather batting gloves. I also swapped my Yankee’s cap for a bright red batting helmet.
“Hey! Shaina!” my dad exclaimed behind me. “Did you mean for that to be a circus at second base? Well, nice job, anyway!”
I grinned, and greedily swallowed almost a quarter of the water from my water jug, not pausing to take a breath.
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