A Legacy of Diamonds
© 2014, Gadi Bossin
P.O. Box 20
Kiryat Bialik, Israel
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.
A LEGACY OF DIAMONDS: PART TWO
Mickey steps into the batter’s box.
He waves his bat at Yaron.
But you can see he doesn’t expect to get a hit.
Our number eight batter, he’s gone oh-for-two so far in the game, a strikeout and a pop up in foul territory behind the plate.
He’s thinking the pitcher’s got his number.
He looks like he just wants his at-bat and his moment of misery to be over.
I look at Yaron.
He beat us 6-0 three weeks earlier.
Tonight, he put us down in order over the first three innings, but we got to him in the fourth for three runs and in the fifth for another.
We can do it, I’m thinking, but we have Mickey and Allie up before we get to Jeremy, our lead-off hitter, and me and Ariel in the second and third slots in the batting lineup.
Jeremy has scored two of our four runs.
I scored one and Ariel scored the other.
Yaron brushes Mickey back with a high inside pitch.
Mickey moves deeper in the batter’s box and away from the plate.
Yaron’s setting him up for his high hard ones on the outside corner.
“Mickey! Don’t back off!” I shout.
But Mickey just looks uncomfortable and Yaron sees it, too.
He strikes Mickey out on the next three pitches.
Allie looks even more uncomfortable than Mickey did.
He flails at the first pitch, a fastball, for strike one.
Yaron whizzes another fastball by Allie for the second strike.
Allie looks even worse on this pitch, swinging way too late.
Then Yaron strikes him out on a change-up. Allie’s way out in front of this one.
Jeremy sets up in his straightaway hitter’s stance.
Yaron steadies himself and nods at the catcher’s signal.
But then he reconsiders and steps off the rubber. He knows Jeremy is in there to hit. He knows he has to get serious.
Jeremy takes a few swings, staring at Yaron, as the pitcher gets set again.
The first pitch comes in high and tight. Jeremy stands his ground, just moving his head and shoulders back.
Unlike Mickey and Allie, Jeremy is not afraid.
Jeremy swings his bat again at Yaron.
The pitcher takes a deep breath and squares his shoulders, addressing the plate prior to the second pitch.
Yaron tosses a curve ball.
It comes in over the plate, knee high.
Jeremy lets it go.
He doesn’t swing.
It’s not a good pitch to hit.
“Strike!” the umpire bellows. “One and one!”
Jeremy grins back at him.
This is a duel between the best pitcher in the league and the most consistent hitter on our team.
Yaron is trying to psyche Jeremy out. But Jeremy stands in there.
His body language says, “I can handle anything you throw at me, Yaron. I’ve been on twice already. I walked and smashed a line drive single and scored two runs. You can’t get me out today.”
I’m on deck, taking my practice swings, watching every move Yaron makes and every answering stare of Jeremy’s.
“Get on, Jer’,” I whisper under my breath.
“Get on and I’m going to make up for that muffed ball and those two runs they scored in the top of the inning.”
The next pitch is another curve ball. It comes in low at the knees like the previous pitch, but it misses the outside corner.
It’s two and one.
Yaron catches the return throw from his catcher and glances over at me in the on-deck circle.
He’s calculating his chances if he pitches around Jeremy to get to me. I figure he won’t give Jeremy a good pitch to hit.
I’m considered a pesky hitter around the league. I get on base a lot and I love to challenge the better pitchers, but after all, I’m the league’s oldest player and don’t look anywhere near as menacing as Jeremy.
The truth is I’m an early baby boomer playing in a league in which most of the players are the babies of baby boomers. Some are even the grandchildren of baby boomers!
Yaron’s fourth pitch to Jeremy is another high hard one for ball three. He’s going to walk him, I tell myself. It’s going to be up to me.
The fifth pitch is another ball, way outside. Jeremy sprints to first base.
I walk up to the plate.
Moish is flashing signals at me from the third base coaching box. All the signals are decoys. With two out, Jeremy won’t be stealing. I’ve got to bring him around.
I haven’t had much luck against Yaron this game.
He got me to tap back to him in the first inning for an easy out, but I reached base on a fielder’s choice in the fourth and eventually scored.
I hit the ball hard right at the third baseman. He bobbled the ball and decided to throw to second to try to put out Jeremy, the lead runner.
Jeremy was too fast and slid into second safe.
Still, I know what Yaron is thinking as he looks over at me.
You’re hitless in the game. I’m going to get you out for the third out.
I’m going to end it right here.
But I have other plans. I can’t let my teammates down. I have to make up for the ball I dropped.
I won’t let Yaron intimidate me.
I hit the ball hard to third base in the fourth.
This time I’m going to drive the ball into the outfield and move Jeremy around to third or maybe even bring him home.