The Hitting Zone - Chapter 179

Published at 19th of March 2019 01:28:16 PM
Chapter 179

Oh . That reminds me of what he said before at the cages a few weekends back . When he was saying not to show off because there could be others watching and taking notes . I thought back to what else he had said and then tugged on his jacket . "Does this mean I don't get to hit freely? Because they live nearby and can tell other teams in our conference?"

Zeke stopped . He turned to face me . He studied my face before patting my head . "Don't worry about that anymore . This tournament is more important . We'll do what it takes to win . Besides, they aren't in our conference remember? They're a division above us . And it's very unlikely they would go around talking about to potential rivals . "

I sighed with relief .

Noah grinned . "Setting Jake loose? Can't wait . "

Zeke didn't reply and started to lead the way again . He took us to our field where we would get to play game one . The team was already in the dugout, with parents filling up our side of the bleachers .

I peeked over at the other dugout and found the familiar faces from my first visit at the cages . I gulped .

"Why do you look so nervous?" Noah smirked . "We've beaten these guys before, we can do it again . "

I squinted at Noah, failing to find where his confidence comes from . We didn't beat them . . . they took our money and we had to pay for a broken bat . Also . . . that was just the batting cages and not a full fledge baseball game .

"What's up?" Kyle asked as we found somewhere to sit on the bench in the dugout . "You guys were gone for a bit . Coach is about to talk about the lineup . "

Noah started to put his cleats on . "Jake ran into some familiar faces . "

Kyle's jaw dropped . "Jake ran into someone he knows? From Southern California? How?"

Noah rolled his eyes . "No, stupid . He ran into one of the guys who took my money the first time Jake and I went to the cages together . "

Kyle blinked in surprise . "I forgot about that! Well isn't that some good news? Didn't Jake beat them in a hitting contest? Ya know, before he broke the bat?"

My face flushed and I tried to put all of my attention on putting my cleats on . Why do they have to keep bringing up the broken bat? What happened to faulty equipment?

"That's what I'm saying!" Noah looked down the dugout and found who he was looking for . "Garret! Come here for a sec!"

Garret stretched out his long legs before standing upright, and made his way over, weaving through our teammates . "What's up?"

"Jake and Noah know some of the guys from the cages back home . " Kyle started to look more carefree than he has been lately . "We should win . If we don't, it will all be because of your crappy pitching . "

Garret pushed down Kyle's cap . "You jerk . What happened to win and lose as a team?" He looked to Noah . "So you two know some Sunset players? I hear it's a rich school . They can afford to offer good players scholarships to a private school . How nice . "

Noah wiggled his eyebrows up and down . "That doesn't mean you'll always get the best players though . Jake had out-hit their cleanup hitter at the cages . "

"By how much?"

"One . For the first challenge . And he would have beaten him again, but he broke his bat . " Faulty equipment! Even Noah was dropping the excuse he had made up .

Garret's lips twitched . "So you guys have confidence we can win . . . simply because Jake had gotten one more hit? I don't know if you can recall the tryout, but please remember what Jake did to all my pitches . "

I was able to hit every one .

"Now . " Garret continued . "Imagine the player you went up against . He's only a step below Jake? So what . . . he'll be able to hit nine out of ten of my pitches? You guys didn't really think this through . Plus . What about their own pitching? Who are they throwing out on the mound today? What if he can get everyone out, but Zeke? There are more factors in a game than just someone being able to hit slightly better than the other player . " Exactly!

That was exactly what I was thinking! I nodded and gave Garret a thumbs up . He understood my thoughts more clearly than Noah did today .

"Doesn't it give you the slightest confidence boost though?" Noah grinned . "I'm not so nervous anymore when I know that Jake can hit better than their cleanup hitter . It's a good start . "

Garret pushed Noah's cap down as well . "Stop lying . When are you ever nervous?" He shot me a smile . "But, I'll admit, that piece of info did cheer me up just a little bit . "

"Listen up!" Coach commanded in a loud voice, forcing our eyes to go to him . He looked towards our end of the dugout . "Take a seat . I'll be going over the lineup and I don't want any distractions . " Everyone sat down . Garret didn't dare to go back to his original spot and just squeezed in between Kyle and Noah . "Here we go:

1 2B Jake Hollander

2 LF Mahki Holstrom

3 SS Noah Atkins

4 CF Zeke Atkins

5 P Garret Knudsen

6 C Jordan Sanders

7 RF Sean Isner

8 1B Julian Wilson

9 3B Chris Ludwick

This is how we'll start, but I will throw in pinch hitters and pinch runners if I have to . " He looked directly at me . "If there's a scoring opportunity and I don't think you're hustling to get it, I will pull you . Regardless if you can get on base . "

I rubbed my nose in embarrassment . My baserunning skills weren't the best, but at least I could attempt a proper slide now .

Coach took his focus of me and addressed the team as a whole . "Sunset Preparatory is a nice school with some excellent players of their own . Steady batters and solid pitching . Don't expect that Zeke can single-handedly carry us like before . Take every opportunity you can to score . As for fielding, be ready for balls to be coming your way . Garret is good at strikeouts, but we won't be able to rely on that against these superior teams . "

Coach checked his watch . "We've got about half an hour before warmups . Stay loose and keep your focus on the upcoming game . "

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