The Hitting Zone - Chapter 181

Published at 19th of March 2019 01:28:14 PM
Chapter 181

Our teammates greeted us with slaps on the backs, high fives, and smiles all around . We went back to our bags and switched out our gear . As I was putting on my hat, I heard the 'ding' of a bat hitting a ball . I turned to watch Garret run to first as the ball was fielded back to the infield . Zeke was held up at third .

Jordan stepped up to the plate next . I remember Noah saying he was one of the better batters, but only played in games where he would catch for Garret . It was a weird dynamic for me and I wanted to ask more about it, but that was all Noah knew .

"You boys ran well out there . " Coach cake over to congratulate us . "Especially you Noah . I think you may be the fastest on the team . Besides some of the seniors . But you're aggressive out on the bases and that's what we need right now . "

"Easy-peasy . " Noah grinned .

Coach studied his face for an extra second or two . "But, I also want you to watch for Miller's signs . He's the third base coach . He'll know best whether or not you can score . "

Noah rubbed his nose, looking a little contrite . "It was the heat of the moment . I felt 100% positive that I would be able to score . "

Coach sighed . "But you don't factor in the chance for a collision and getting hurt . Trust Miller . " He left to go back to the end of the dugout to watch the game .

I stared intently at Noah .

He finally felt me looking at him . "What is it?"

I grimaced . "Don't get hurt . "

Noah immediately smiled . "Of course I won't . Coach can say that Miller knows best all he wants, but really, I know my own body better than anyone else . He was just saying that to scare me . "

I hope so .

The sound of a hit made us look to the field . It was a hard grounder to the second baseman . He smoothly fielded the ball and gave a short toss to the shortstop on second, who tagged the bag and then threw to first . A 4-6-3 double play . Noah and I sighed in sync .

"Hey, hey . Don't look so down . It's only the first inning . " Mahki hit the tops of our heads with his gloved hand . "Let's get out there and show some defense of our own . We're off to a good start!"

As a team, we switched to defense and ran onto the field for some warmups . We took a little longer than normal since Jordan was the last out and needed some time to get his catchers gear on . Once he came out, Garret was able to throw some warmup pitches . They looked fast, but not as sharp as they could be . Maybe he's trying to fool the batters coming up, I decided, not worrying about it . I hardly know anything about baseball itself, let alone a complicated position like pitching .

Soon enough, the ump called for the balls back and for the batter to step up to the plate . Garret came at him fast . . . but wasn't able to place his first two pitches in the strike zone . 2-0 . I looked at Noah on my right to see if I should be worrying, yet Noah was in the zone, focused on the batter . I snapped out of it and tried to do the same .

On the third pitch, the batter swung even though it was slightly inside and could have been a ball . It was a pop up foul on the third base side . I watched to see if Chris would go for it, but to my surprise I saw Noah sprinting on over . He tracked the ball, called for it, and made the perfect catch for out number one . His smile was bright once the clapping from the stands picked up . However it didn't last long as Chris exchanged words with him .

I was tempted to go over there, but their conversation didn't look like a pleasant one so I held off . Finally, Noah was able to get away and threw the ball back to Garret, adding some words of encouragement .

Garret nodded, showing no expression . He faced down batter two . His first pitch was another to the inside, but still close to the strike zone . The batter swung, popping it high in the air, and again, on the foul side of third base . Noah started running over, but Chris waved him off, got under the ball, and caught it for the second out . He threw it back to Garret, then turned to glare at Noah . I saw Noah stick his tongue out and I let out a little laugh .

Garret didn't pay any mind to us and just stared at the ball in his grasp . Four pitches, two outs, but he didn't look happy . If anything, he looked a little frustrated . He fixed his grip on the ball a couple of times before turning to face the third batter .

He started off with a fastball right down the middle . I flinched, expecting a hit that didn't come . The batter took it as a called strike . Garret followed up with another inside pitch that didn't make it in the strike zone . 1-1 . Garret's frown deepened . He tied the rubber lightly, but his attention was on his fingers and the ball within . His third pitch was his fastest, but the batter let it pass by for a high ball . 2-1 . The next pitch was too far outside to even get the batter to chase after it . 3-1 . Garret settled on throwing the next pitch for a guaranteed strike . . . right down the middle . And it would have been a strike if the batter didn't swing like he had done for the first pitch . However, the other team will never play like how you want them to . He swung and sent the ball sky high towards the left side of the outfield .

I gulped as I watched it fall on the other side of the outfield fence . A solo homerun, making the score 2-1 . What a bomb . Mahki didn't even have a chance to jump at the fence to steal it .

I turned back to Garret to see how he was taking it . I found him and Jordan on the mound, talking it over I presume . I glanced at Noah and finally got his attention . He reassured me with his steady attitude and a smile still in place . He must have confidence in Garret . I tried to feel as calm as Noah looked .

Jordan went back to his spot behind the plate as the cleanup batter stepped in the box . He was the guy from earlier today and from the cages a few weeks ago .

"C'mon Garret! Let him hit it here!" Noah excitedly clapped with his glove a few times . Enough to grab the batter's attention and have him send a glare his way .

Garret smiled at Noah's encouragement and came at the batter with fast pitches . They weren't well placed, but they had enough speed to catch him off guard . He ended up hitting a grounder with the end of his bat . It rolled past Garret's right side, but Noah was there to greet it . He was able to pick it up, barehanded, and threw it perfectly to Julian's glove . Three outs!

We headed back to the dugout, happy to be holding our 2-1 lead . Noah bounced over to Garret, beaming, "That was too perfect!"

Garret shook his head, bitter . "What? The homerun I gave up? Or the way we got the first two outs?"

Noah raised his throwing hand . "The last out! The grounder! It really came right to me! It's like I spoke it into existence . Maybe you should do the same . Say 'I'll shut them out from here on . '"

Garret's lips pulled into a thin line . "No need . I have a more concrete way to make it happen: effort . Max effort . "

Noah shrugged . "Speak for yourself . "

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