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Baseball Experiences - First Varsity Experience

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Garrett Lucero

Composition 1

Kelly Payne


Rough Draft First Varsity Experience

        As a sophomore in high school, not many kids got to play on the varsity level, but I was chosen to go to Austin, Texas for a trip to play a rival school. I was accompanied by another sophomore, so I wasn’t completely alone. Thoughts were racing through my head. I was thinking to myself, “Will I be good enough?” or “How am I the only non-varsity pitcher to come on this trip?”. I knew that if I didn’t do well on this trip, then I wouldn’t get another chance to pitch this year for varsity. My heart was racing faster than it ever has before. I was just a small insignificant piece of the puzzle that had to shine.

        We arrived at the game and I could not believe how cold it had gotten. I could feel my hands and lips cracking from the dry and freezing air as it hit me. I wasn’t even paying attention to it on the way there because of how stressed I was. Here I am, standing on the foul line, singing the pledge of allegiance to kick off the game. I look around and all the upperclassman are so much bigger and mature than I am. Even my friend AJ, the other sophomore, was much bigger than me and could fit in with the guys. I am obviously the odd man out, and the other team knew it. After the pledge, I check the line-up card and I wasn’t even on the roster. It was like coach had completely forgotten about me. He looks at me and says, “Oh my bad Garrett, I forgot to put your name down.” I was sure that I wouldn’t get the chance to play, so I sit down with the managers under a blanket. As I am watching the game, I am frozen to the bone and could only focus on the game. As the first few innings past, I got colder and colder. I check my phone and it says it is twelve degrees outside and that we’re expecting hail. I knew that if I were to go out there and pitch, I would need some grace from God to help me do well.

        As the game progresses on, I am losing hope in my chance to pitch. My friend AJ had played all game and I was feeling like I was forgotten about and that there is no reason I should be there. Around the fifth inning, our starting pitcher gets pulled from the game and coach tells me to go to the bullpen. I spring off the bench and sprint to the bullpen to accompany one of the other pitchers who was also warming up. I had gone from being the most miserable person in the dugout, to the happiest player on the field. My frozen shell of a body had cracked and had awoken the soon to be varsity pitcher. While I am in the bullpen, I feel amazing and all my pitches are working. I am thinking to myself, “This is the best bullpen I have ever had!” Although my hands were frozen and numb it didn’t phase me one bit. I get the call from coach, and I am ecstatic. I run down to the dugout just so he could tell me to sit back down. I was at an all-time low. The other kid in the bullpen went on to pitch the next inning and walks out to go close the game. I was heartbroken, and I felt just about immobile because of the freezing temperatures. While the inning was starting, there was a sudden jolt of lightning and it starts hailing. They put the game on weather delay for the next half hour. The weather doesn’t stop for another two hours. Everyone on the team was suffering, and wanted to leave as soon as possible, but coach kept us there to wait it out. The lightning finally stops and I hear the umpire yell, “play ball” and they whole dugout is upset. Everyone had their sweat frozen on their bodies and the pitcher at the time was complaining about his arm being sore and coach tells me to go warm up again. I am walking down there as if there is no way in hell I will pitch. As I’m warming up, it seems like I can barely move because of how cold I was. All my pitches are off and I couldn’t throw a strike to save my life. I am basically just going thru the motions as my coach signals to put me into the game. I can’t believe it, I am being put into a district game where I control the teams fate. I run onto the field, and start my warm up and shake all the bad pitches off. I am back to the energized and ecstatic pitcher that I usually am. I look amazing out there, I felt as if I was unhittable, then the first hitter comes up to the plate. He’s big, really big, I am no doubt intimidated by this hitter. It was a perfect setting for me to shine. It was the last inning, it was hailing, and it was a 4-2 ballgame. If I could hold them, then we win. I look for my sign, while I am rotating the ball in my hand, feeling for the best seam on the baseball. I get a fastball, I throw it as hard as I could and the pitch just misses, “ball one” says the umpire. Well okay there goes that, now I must throw a strike here or ill really be in trouble. I get a sign for a curveball. My curveball was my best pitch. I felt all the confidence in the world rush through me. I begin my motion and I could feel the ball roll out of my hand. I knew it was going to be a good one. I look up and see that the hitter was all over it. He cranked that ball 400 feet. The umpire exclaims, “Homerun!” and the other team goes wild. It was now a 4-3 ballgame and I was in trouble. I felt like a fool, but I look at the dugout and AJ cheers, “Hey man, shake it off, you got this!” I knew he was right. If I was going to finish this fight I was going to have to become the man they wanted me to be. I took that personally, and went straight at the next batter. I didn’t let myself think about anything but the next pitch. I struck the next batter out with ease, and regained my confidence. I was back in the groove. I went at the third batter like I did the last, but it wasn’t enough. There was a loud crack off the bat and he hits a line drive to left field and gets a single. I could feel my hands cracking and drying up from the cold as I received the ball from the first baseman. I knew if I got a ground ball on this play, I could get out of the inning. As I toe the runner, I get the sign. It’s a fastball high, I shake it off, and coach is not happy. He calls it again and I miss my spot but the batter hits a high fly ball. The center fielder catches it and the out is recorded. There are now two outs. I am ecstatic, and I get the next sign, it is a low curveball and the batter hits a groundball to the shortstop. He boots it and I went from believing that I got out of this mess to being in another hole. There is now runners on first and second, and on the next pitch they double steal. Now they are both in scoring position, which means a base hit could make them win the game. I just go back to what AJ said about shaking it off, and I know that I can do it. As I toe the rubber, I can feel the cold wet ball on my cracked and weather-beaten hands. As I come set I can feel my lungs fill up with cold unforgiving air. My feet are so cold that I have lost the feeling in them. I had to somehow get the strength to help win this for my team. I get the sign, and I look at the other dugout. I can hear the other team screaming and shouting trying to throw me off, but I look at AJ and I can see in him that he knows I can do this. I think to myself, “If AJ thinks I can do it, then I know I can.” I look down the batter, he looks mean and its as if he knows I’m about to throw my best pitch, my curveball, and its like he knows he can hit it. I take a deep breath, grip the ball, and deliver the pitch.

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